2/11 and the movie makers
But now many ‘intellectuals’ in the Netherlands say that Theo van Gogh was a bit too harsh. The movie he made with Ayaan Hirsi Ali was not constructive enough they say, and it is most important not to insult other people. The word “respect” represents their newfound paradigm, like the respect you need to have for the mafia.
But what is the opinion of Dutch filmmakers? How does the 2/11 murder impact them? In the issue of January 28 of Dutch magazine HP DE TIJD some directors where interviewed (parts I have translated here):
Director of “De poolse bruid”
“Unfortunately I have not yet seen Submission yet. But I can understand that people feel offended. It is not only personal, but your whole background is targeted: your parents, grand parents, your whole culture”.
“I do not think it has become impossible to make critical movies about the Islam. You only have to build up the ability to criticize. You should not be to direct. Other wise you will get a direct hit back. My big question is: What is the purpose of your criticism? Criticism is allowed, but for me criticism means, asking questions. But making a joke of thinks or being against some thing does not bring anything. That is aggression.”
Later in the same interview: “Look, the style of Theo and miss Hirsi Ali is not my style. I would do it a very different way: to make the divide smaller and not bigger. Everything can be discussed. It all depends on the way it is done.”
Director of “Suzie Q”, “AmnesiA”, “De grot”
He says he was shocked and confused after the murder of Van Gogh. He thought: shouldn’t I make my movies more relevant?. At this moment he is making a movie about a Moroccan girl, “Schnitzel paradise”. But he says, it is not a movie of extremes. Not that he thinks that kind of movies shouldn’t be made, but he has come to the conclusion that he has no need for making such a movie at this moment. A polarizing movie would harm the integration process [of Muslims in The Netherlands]. “But I don’t need to worry, simply because I do not have very extreme views”.
Director of "Flirt", "Simon", "Rent a friend", "Hong Kong", "Babylon", ...
“I hope that something will happen under the Dutch film makers”. In society, politics is discussed on the streets. I hope that will also reach the filmmakers. Moviemakers should look around them, and not only concentrate on form or trying to imitate American movies. They should tell in their movies what they see around them.
“When we will get a Dutch ‘Spike Lee’?” Well I hope I am. And in a way Theo van Gogh was also a ‘Spike Lee’. He was one of the few who went to the edge of the city. When I was just filming uptown people. Theo made me understand that there are living more people in The Netherlands, under different circumstances. He was quite unique in that respect.”
Willem van de Sande Bakhuyzen
Director of "Lepel", "Cloaca", "Lost", “Oud geld”, “Bij ons in de Jordaan”, ...
He does not feel an urge to make big statement. He holds his life dear. “I have the impression that the artistic freedom of movie makers is under pressure. I don’t think you can just make a movie about something controversial as the Islam, however balanced you would try to make it. If there should be a message in the movie, [I think] it should be the message of tolerance and mutual understanding”
“I can understand that every body thinks twice before he delivers something controversial. And I find that very disturbing. But really, I hold on to my life too much to be able to direct Submission II. I don’t want to robe my children of their father”.
Paula van der Oest
Director of “Madame Jeanette", "Moonlight", "Always yours for ever", ...
“I found Submission a difficult movie, because it was so arty. It was a very personal and angry movie. I do not know if I would dare to make the successor, I have two small children. I would certainly not make it like the first part. It would be much more mundane. Look, I am against woman suppression, genital mutilation and violence against woman. But this is a worldwide problem. Should we as Dutch filmmakers then have a role in that? That is really not clear to me. I do not want to back out and on a micro level I will do my contribution, but I think that especially people from within (with a Muslim background) can make a bridge between the seemingly insurmountable cultural divide.”
Director of “Nynke” , “The Dreams”, "The mark of the Beast”, ...
In the after math of the Murder on Theo van Gogh he finally got financial means to make his long planned movie “Ali and Nino”, a movie about a Muslim boy and Christian girl.
“Submission I found to much a pamphlet. That kind of simplifications is not my cup of tea. Life is much more complicated. If I would make the sequel of Submission, if I would be asked for it?”
“I would not want to do it. I think it is brave of Hirsi Ali to continue with what she thinks is important, but she should think [again] about the tone and form. By the way, it is not out of fear that I don’t want to do it. Although I think one should be careful not to drive a large segment of the population in the corner. That does bring any good for the future.
Mijke de Jong
Director of “Blue Bird”, “Dolle Zina”, "Uitgesloten", “Ik ben Willem”, ...
If Hirsi Ali would call me for the next part of Submission, I would sight deeply. Of course I would be afraid, but I would certainly want to talk about it. I do not always agree with her, but I am happy she is back (and dares to open her mouth).
The movie “Dolle Zina”, was also about Islamic women. I was very careful not to upset Muslim sensitivities. But even then, my parents said: “Better don’t do it. Please be careful”. When I saw Submission, I knew, this is going to be a problem.
“After the dead of Theo we had a meeting of film directors. Albert ter Heerdt said on the meeting, he would stop with the filming of the second part of his movie “Shouf shouf habibi” [a very successful comical movie about Moroccan youth]. I was shocked; his movie was an example of a gentle approach of the multicultural society. This motivated me much: it should not happen that directors stop film projects out of fear. I am not sure how courageous I am. But so far I never kept silent out of fear and I hope to keep it that way. That was also what made the contact with Theo van Gogh so special. He always stimulated you to speak out and to debate the issues.”
Albert ter Heerdt
Director of “Shouf shouf habibi!”, "Russen", "Liefdesgasten", ...
“In the tumultuous time after the murder on Theo van Gogh we decided for various reasons to postpone the planned next part of “Shouf shouf habibi” and to first make an other movie. I could not bring my self to ignore the real problems. And a lot of those problems do note work very well in a comedy like Shouf. Especialy as how we had planned that new Shouf movie. It had to much boys humor.”
In his new movie, he is going to show more about the Dutch situation then was possible in a comedy like Shouf.
Last Sunday the ‘International Film festival Rotterdam’ commemorated Theo van Gogh and played his movies. The viewing of Submission was canceled at the festival, due to security risks.
sered's pov - documentary mockumentary
Newyork Times - Militant Muslims Act to Suppress Dutch Film and Art Show
(Note: funy how the NYT calls the liberal party (VVD) a conservative party, apperently they see the socialist as the real liberals).
Powerline - It can't happen here