"When I was young everything seemed infinite and to last forever. Of course there would always be a birthday party for Henk in November in the Steenstraat next to café Schophuis. And if you couldn't make it one year, you could always go the next. And there would always be an opportunity to finish the hiking tour of the Pyrenees. You could always make those pictures of that beautiful old farm where you used to go to with your grandfather to buy eggs.However, each moment lasts only one moment. Gone, gone oh and forever gone. If I could only hold on to it a little bit longer. Hope that I can enjoy this present moment. That I don't let it pass by unnoted."
I wrote this in 2007, as a general introduction to my project on Tiengemeten. As I am reading it again I am quite surprised to see that in the meantime I have used a variety of these aspects in my comments on WISTFUL WILDERNESS, my ultimate long movie about Tiengemeten. It is strange to discover that a lot of ideas apparently float around in your head before they find their final destination.
My film project on Tiengemeten was always meant to be a long-term project. I read in the newspaper in late 1993 that there were plans to breach the dike and that the fertile farmland would become unspoilt nature again. I was to film the changes on that little island in the Haringvliet until the first natural grown tree would be as high as I am.
Meanwhile this has resulted in nine very full folders in filing cabinet (cabinet D) with Tiengemeten as its subject. In filing cabinet C there are three more. And on top of cabinet VI there is a pile of newspaper articles, bills and newsletters of half a metre high. Then there are another ten ring binders with pictures. In addition, there are other files filled with tender specifications, and a file filled with notes on editing the film.
Here I am standing next to a young poplar, on 6th September 2007. However, it is not certain whether this is one of the trees that have grown there spontaneously. It is not. It is a new shoot of one of the old poplars that stood alongside the road.
I took a picture of myself in January 2010. I am standing next to a genuinely spontaneously grown tree. I am standing on the ice, my little camera stands on a pole, and therefore the horizon in the picture is a bit off line.
"Actually Tiengemeten is of course a project about time and transitoriness."
I wrote this in 2007. And it is completely true. Even more than I realized at the time. I spent the Christmas holidays of 2008 reviewing all the filmed material. In the shot list (196 pages) I marked all the shots I thought were good enough with a pink marker, without concerning myself with dramaturgic principles, structure, and logic. I thought: I will make a movie of landscapes only. No comments, no talking people. But with music, a little bit. And next I will make another movie for myself, with exactly the same shots, but with text. My own text. About what it is like to work for so long on a certain project and to realize that time just slips by. However, Albert (who would edit the film) said that he found the latest version the most interesting. I should start working on those texts. They could always be thrown out in the end.
And so we started with what we would call WISTFUL WILDERNESS. In between we also edited another film on Tiengemeten: part three of the series, NEW TIENGEMETEN, to be made for the NPS (Dutch public broadcaster). Part three would only cover the period 2006 2009. When we both had the time which wasn't very often we would edit one film or another for a couple of days. Sometimes we got confused, but not very often. There was still no ending of the film. We had to figure that out and shoot it. Finally our last shooting day was on the 31st July 2009. I write about this in my diary on the website (http://www.tiengemeten.com/htm/anyfilm). It was a strange and memorable day. It marked the end of a period of filming that lasted 13 years.
New Tiengemeten was broadcasted, and Wistful Wilderness will now travel around the world to the film festivals of Nyon and Toronto in order to be released in the Netherlands in September. We'll see.
Weemoed & Wildernis (Dutch, my own voice)
Wistful Wilderness (English, the voice of Dawn Mastin)
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