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Herinnering aan Frans Zwartjes

Living, Sorbet, Spectator – they are only a few of the titles with which Frans Zwartjes (1927-2017) opened the doors of the imagination. EYE pays tribute to an inspiring personality by showing several films of the recently deceased visual artist and filmmaker.

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Visual artist and filmmaker Frans Zwartjes, one of the most versatile of experimental filmmakers of the Netherlands, died last month on Saturday 18 November. His oeuvre includes more than fifty films, many of which were internationally acclaimed.

As a tribute to the godfather of the Dutch artist”s film, EYE screens a number of films that put Zwartjes on the map as a filmmaker. The programme includes the films Living (1971”, 15”), Seats Two (1970, 10”), Moving Stills I (1972, 7”) and Sorbet (1968, 9”), Spectator (1970, 11') and Dolls (1968, 10'). The films feature two of Zwartjes” favourite actors – the muses Moniek Toebosch and Trix Zwartjes – in addition to Lodewijk de Boer (Sorbet) and Paul de Nooijer (co-director Moving Stills), two artists with whom Zwartjes liked to collaborate. The selection presents Zwartjes” own favourite titles.

intoxicating and oppressive

'The Great Wizard', as Zwartjes was sometimes called, rose to prominence in the late 1960s with painterly and grainy monochrome films known for their extreme close-ups and startling changes of perspective. Psychological intensity and sexuality are constant themes in a Zwartjes film; improvisation, the unconditional use of black and white and in-camera editing were essential elements. The filmmaker focused on sexually charged and intoxicating situations, often with an undertone of fear or despair. The leading actors in a Zwartjes film were often fellow artist Moniek Toebosch (1948-2012), Zwartjes” wife Trix and Christian Manders.Essayist Susan Sontag (On Photography) once praised Zwartjes as “the most important experimental filmmaker of his time”. Pentimento (1979), Living (1971) – part of the Home Sweet Home series (1971) – and Spare Bedroom (1969) are among Zwartjes” best-known films.

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