~ Nationality: Netherlands ~

Witte Vlag/White Flag by Pat van Boeckel and Pieter van de Pol with Peter Verhelst

Belgian poet Peter Verhelst is the author of the four lines of poetry recited in the film, but I had to include the filmmakers in the title as well because their symbolic, Tarkovsky-influenced style is at least as central to the poetry of the film. Pat van Boeckel is a regular at Moving Poems, and many of his best films spring from other artists’ projects or exhibitions, as this one did. His fellow Dutch artist Pieter van de Pol, who’s the actor in the film, I think, is involved in something called the White Flag Art Project based in Essen, Germany and coordinated by artist Katharina Lökenhoff: “An international art project exploring the white flag meeting global contemporary challenges.” Peter Broderick composed the music.

As an older white male poet myself, watching this led me to ponder the relationship between the Romantic ideal of a heroic lone creator with the larger capitalist culture, its production of ruin in the course of a consumerist atomization of society, and how the apocalypses we conjure in our imaginations have their own daimonic power. None of these lessons are necessarily implicit in the film; I bring them up merely as a way of saying how thought-provoking I find this contemplative style of poetry filmmaking.

A Film About Tears by Sam Theunissen with Sean Louw

A Dutch videopoem that feels much longer than its 38-second runtime, A Film About Tears was directed by Danu Caris with text by Sam Theunissen, but was mainly the idea of the cinematographer, Sean Louw, who uploaded the video to his account with this description:

15/03/2022 – Today is a strange day. Grief comes and goes and you never really know why and how. But with time, you learn to observe it and live with it. And maybe even look back with a smile. This film is about that.

Today, exactly a year ago my mom passed away.
Her handwriting was used for the credits.

This project meant a lot to me, so huge thanks to director Danu Caris for dealing with my chaotic ideas and bringing her photographic finesse to the table. Laura Bakker for taking this tiny little roll to a whole new level and breathing life into her character. Boyd Bakema for pretty much saving the day on set. Fons Beijer for making us forget all about our old temp music by creating magic. And Sam Theunissen for writing a poem that really hits home with exactly the right amounts of serious and playful. (Also for casually translating it last-minute)

Shot on a Bolex as part of a third-year project for The Netherlands Film Academy on 16mm Tri-x film supplied and hand-developed by Onno Petersen.

Here by Robert-Jonathan Koeyers

Here is written and directed by Robert-Jonathon Koeyers, who describes it as:

an experimental visual poem combining video, photography, and animation to examine the lived Black experience and ultimately ask what it means to be ‘here’.

Additional animation was contributed by Lina Maldeikyte, Chellysia Christen, Mireille Kiesewetter, Sibel Vuap and Rebeka Mór.

Extensive artist notes on the piece are to be found at Koeyers’ website.

At the border by Jan Baeke

This videopoem from Public Thought, the collaborative team of Dutch poet Jan Baeke and designer and media artist Alfred Marseille, was screened at ZEBRA 2016. Completed last July, it is sadly more relevant than ever: a “Poetic reflection on the ambiguities of the refugee crisis, media coverage, extremist propaganda and EU politics,” as Baeke and Marseille describe it. (Click through for the text.)

Orakel van een gevonden schoen / Oracle of a Found Shoe by Mustafa Stitou

A new poetry film by Ukrainian director and animator Angie (Anzhela) Bogachenko featuring a poem and recitation by the Moroccan Dutch poet Mustafa Stitou, with the English translation by David Colmer in subtitles. The soundtrack includes music by Oskar Schuster.

Accumulate by eddie d

Last week we saw eddie d’s genius for poetic remix in a short videopoem from the videotape era, “Poem #7.” Here’s a longer and more ingenious example of that technique from 2014.

In an age when even smartphones produce HD video, eddie d collects old SD dvds and instruction videos to search for material to use for his works. This Lo-Fi approach has resulted in a video poem which stars one man and his numbers. The poem might be about the financial crises, terrorists, or bankers, or just about everyday problems we all have to endure. The question that remains is: How much more? 5?
One thing is certain: as always with eddie d videos, the work is short enough to fit in anyone’s pocket.

Poem #7 by eddie d

An experimental, author-made piece from 1998 by the Dutch video artist known as eddie d, “known for his video poems, short, single channel, video works in which spoken word and sound are transformed into compositions of language and rhythm.”

The droll description of “Poem #7” on Vimeo calls it “A top video poem, by a top video poem editor, recited by top poem reciters.” I’d call it a too-short, brilliant defamiliarization of a hackneyed English phrase.

Here to Stay by Srikandi Larasati

A nicely minimalist film by the Dutch artist Jan Kees Helms featuring Indonesian-Dutch poet Srikandi Larasati reciting a poem about the contributions of refugees and other immigrants.

Man & Dolphin / Mens & Dolfijn by Hans Faverey

As with yesterday’s film by Trevino Brings Plenty, this minimalist videopoem works because of the subject’s lack of response to a direct address, confounding the viewer’s expectations. The audio comes from a reading by the poet at Poetry International Rotterdam in 1977, and the video montage was made just last year by JW van Hemert, using footage from Conscience dauphins. Although the poem is mostly in Dutch, one can understand just enough of it to get the point.

Hans Faverey was—judging from the English translations of his poetry on the Poetry International Rotterdam website and at Words Without Borders—a great poet whose work deserves much more international exposure (I only heard of him last week, thanks to a tip from Willem Groenewegen on Facebook).

It Lêste Ljipaai / The Last Lapwing Egg by Siem de Vlas

A lament for the loss of tradition and ties to the land, in the language of one of Europe’s most deeply rooted peoples, the Frisians. Richard van der Laan‘s description at Vimeo is worth quoting at length:

In Fryslân there is a cultural-historical competition to find the first lapwing egg of the year. This visual poem captures the spirit of a tradition, which is bound for extinction.

I made this film in admiration of my father. When I was a little boy he took me into the meadows to find eggs. I still remember the beauty of the landscape, the sound of the birds and the excitement when we found eggs. Sadly we never found the first egg. I also remember the cold of the wind and tired feelings in my small legs. Often asking my father to carry me on his back.

DISCLAIMER: No real eggs were harmed during the making of this film. We only used empty egg shells. My father stopped collecting eggs years ago.

Gathering lapwing eggs is prohibited by the European Union, but Fryslân (a northern province of the Netherlands) was granted an exception for cultural-historical reasons. The Frisian exception was removed in 2005 by a court, which determined that the Frisian executive councillors had not properly followed procedure. As of 2006 it is again allowed to look for lapwing eggs between 1 March and 9 April, though harvesting those eggs is now forbidden.

Lapwings belong in meadows. The name lapwing describes the sound its broad wings make when in flight. Lapwings are also known as peewits, thanks to their shrill call. They are very vocal during mating season and have glorious courting rituals in the air. In the spring, the male makes several simple hollows in the ground and the female chooses one to make brood her eggs in. Both males and females brood the eggs and care for the chicks. Should their nest with chicks be threatened, they will defend their young with all their might. Sometimes, you see them flying after a harrier, constantly attacking the raptor. If it really gets serious, they will pretend to have a broken wing, luring the predator away from the nest.

The Frisian languages are a closely related group of Germanic languages, spoken by about 500,000 members of Frisian ethnic groups, who live on the southern fringes of the North Sea in the Netherlands and Germany. The Frisian languages are the second closest living languages to English, after Scots.
Filmed at Vegelinsoord (West Frisian: Vegelinsoard) a small village in Skarsterlân in the province Fryslân of the Netherlands.

Camera / Production : Richard van der Laan
Egg collector : Hans van der Laan
Poem writer / reading : Siem de Vlas
Sound recording : Richard van der Laan
Sound design : Maarten Boogerman

Siem de Vlas, a landscape architect as well as a poet, also provided the reading in a previous Frisian-language poetry film by Richard van der Laan, It Noarderland (The Northern Land), for a poem by Durk van der Ploeg.

What we had has not yet been by Jan Baeke

Another one of the Public Thought collaborations between Dutch poet Jan Baeke and media artist Alfred Marseille. Let me quote the description at Vimeo in full:

Originally conceived as an interactive installation for the 2007 Literature and New Media project in the Waag, Amsterdam, this production by Jan Baeke and Alfred Marseille mixes poetry, moving images and sound in a movie directed by words, and talks about memory, longing, the misguided monologue and the meaning of the kitchen in modern society.
Images and sounds are mainly drawn from the Prelinger archives.
This version is an entirely new edit made for the 2011 Beijing Book Fair and also featured at the 2011 Noorderzon festival in Groningen (Netherlands).
Text: Jan Baeke
Editing: Alfred Marseille
English translation: Willem Groenewegen

(The Waag, incidentally, is an old city gate and guild hall, “the oldest remaining non-religious building in Amsterdam.”)

There’s also a version in Mandarin Chinese.

Rue des Abeilles and No Other Way by Jan Baeke

This is Rue des Abeilles, part of an on-going collaboration between poet Jan Baeke and media artist Alfred Marseille that they call Public Thought: “Cinépoèmes – data poems – moving shorts – speculative analysis.” This was screened at the 2012 ZEBRA Poetry Festival (to whose Vimeo “likes” I’m indebted for the find). In the credits, “Idea & screenplay” are attributed to both Baeke and Marseille, while Marseille alone handled production, editing and sound. The English translation is by Willem Groenewegen.

I was especially struck by the myriad ways in which motion and energy were coaxed from still images and kinetic type animation (even to the point of making the word “motionless” pulse and tremble). The description at Vimeo reads:

One summer morning at dawn in a French town, sleepless and without a clue. Everything was breathing…

Short film based on two poems by Jan Baeke, Rue des Abeilles and No other way (10).
(first revision)

Thomas Möhlmann’s bio of Jan Baeke on Poetry International Web makes it clear that film has been a crucial influence on his work:

Besides being a poet and translator, Jan Baeke works for the Amsterdam Film Museum. In a note to his fourth collection, Groter dan de feiten (Larger than the Facts, 2007), he lists a number of people who inspired him during his writing process. This list shows that the work of international film makers such as Andrej Tarkovski, Federico Fellini, Michael Haneke and Luis Buñuel are as important to Baeke’s poetry as writing of poets like János Pilinszky, Wallace Stevens and Anne Carson. Both Baeke’s imagery and technique seem to be fuelled and formed by film and poetry alike.