THE MOVIE CITY
LOST & FOUND
The summer I graduated from the Film Academy (in 1972) I found work as editing assistant for the movie Turks Fruit (Turkish Delight) by Paul Verhoeven. Jan Bosdriesz edited the movie in a wooden barack behind the Cinetone Studios at the Duivendrechtse Kade. I could tell you a lot of stories about this but I am not going to do that now. That is quite another story. Anyway, I rode my bike six days a week past Maschmeijer Aromatics, the Blooker cocoa factory, the Atlas Licorice Factory and the wallpaper factory of Rath&Doodeheefver, to the shed where the 35 mm Steenbeck editing table was. Behind Rath & Doodeheefver, an imposing brick building from 1933, were still grassy fields and small ditches. And there stood a small old house where an elderly couple kept some geese and had a vegetable garden.
The couple that lived in the little house at the Duivendrechtse Kade, the owners of the dog Sjerrie
In my last year at the academy I was allowed to make a movie: Greetings from Zonnemaire. A movie that was situated in the village where I was born. This had not been an easy thing to do. I was not well prepared for the confrontation. Later when the movie was finished, I figured that I probably was not made to be a moviemaker.
One night I told Peter Jansen (who called himself Jasnaļ and was still studying at the academy) about my daily trip to the city border. How beautiful it all was, those remains of another era, the ambiguity of the landscape. He knew a man who sold eggs on the market and who lived in a caravan near the Hemweg power plant. Therefore it was also part of the city border. We figured we could make a couple of small movies on the subject.
And so we did. Pieter de Vos handled the camera. We made two no budget movies, edited as a dyptich carrying the title City Border. We had borrowed, gotten or fixed everything, one way or the other. I was the director of the movie we called Sjerrie, after the little dog of the couple that lived in the small house. And Peter directed the part about Sjors, the chickenfarmer. The amazing thing was that it was so much fun to make the movies. The shots, the editing, and the three of us working together: I thought it was wonderful. We didn't have fights about anything at all. Everything was done without any effort. The movies became so enchanting that Huub Bals from Film International wanted to distribute them. They were brought in circulation and were shown in a couple of movie houses. But then one day a fire broke out in the film archive of Film International in Rotterdam, and I didn't know any better than that City Border had been lost. The only thing left was the small picture above, made from a 16 mm film image ( the picture is in my archive's filing cabinet A).
Until I received an email in October 2007:
Dear Mrs Sinke,
I saw on your site that you
believe that your movie CITY BORDER was lost in a fire. I am a
volunteer at the Film Museum and only recently I saw this film
when I was viewing a number of short movies from the Film
Museum's own collection. The copy's condition is reasonable.
This coming Thursday a number of movies will be shown at a private viewing for the employees of the Film Museum, starting at 10.00A.M., including CITY BORDER. Researcher Rommy Albers will give a short introduction on the project proposal, "Dutch short movie 1958 - 1975" which includes this movie. I would very much like to invite you to be present at this viewing in the pavilion of the Film Museum in the Vondelpark; you will find the programme at the bottom of this mail.
With kind regards, Maike Lasseur
So after 34 years I watched City Border again. Oh how familiar were the images and texts. A constant feeling of Oh yes of course. Some of the texts I had remembered all these years ("my sisters, they were not round, they were square!"), but others apparently just tumbled through my head without me knowing exactly that they were. And suddenly they were all there again. Unchanged was the humour. What I liked then, I still liked. The kind of shots were really my kind of shots. And of course it finally boiled down to the meaning of life, but unapparent. But the street shots, the clothes of the bystanders at the stall of farmer Sjors selling eggs, the untidiness of things: it was incredible that I had been there at that time. This must have been ages ago.
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