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Researchlabs 2021: Universiteit Leiden

Leiden University: Gepaste Afstand

Questions on what are “the proper distances” within cinema’s various relations – between the filmmaker and its subjects/actors or between the people and places represented on the screen and the audience, to name just two - are often at the heart of debates on “controversial” or “shocking” films.

Poster Researchlabs 2021 Universiteit Leiden
Some of the most beautiful, painful and thought-provoking moments in cinematic history are often the ones in which it is no longer clear-cut where this “appropriate distance” lies. We are strangely lost when we are pushed too close to something we feel we should stay away from, or when we are pulled back too far from something that we feel should be intimate. These kinds of cinematic experiences are uncomfortable because they force us to confront distances and boundaries. They ask us where we draw lines and why.The three films in this program – from artists and filmmakers Frans Zwartjes, Moniek Toebosch and Aryan Kaganof (Ian Kerkhof) - are all excellent examples of experimental works that explore The Netherlands as a paradoxical space full of inner tension. With its liberal legislation, Holland is a country where a lot is allowed, but (self)censorship and limits are enforced in camouflaged ways. All shot in unconventional fashion, these films thwart the comfortable position the moviegoer is usually granted in order to investigate the film-viewer’s internalized notion of what is “een gepaste afstand”.

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