THE WAY SOUTH

Posted by | Conversations at the Edge | Posted on | October 23, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 6pm | SAIC Professor Daniel Eisenberg in person!

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Image: Johan van der Keuken, “The Way South” (1981). Image courtesy of Idéale Audience International.

Prolific Dutch documentarian, author, and photographer Johan van der Keuken produced 55 films and nine books over the course of his career. Influenced by Dutch realist photographers, existential and Eastern philosophies, and abstract painting and jazz, van der Keuken’s memorable style combined political and avant-garde filmmaking traditions with subjective expression and objective explanation. In The Way South (1981), part of a series of political films examining the disparities between the northern and southern hemispheres, van der Keuken’s camera travels from Amsterdam through Paris, the Alps, and Rome to Egypt and documents the plights of immigrant communities—Dutch squatters, Moroccan migrant workers, and generations of African emigrés—along the way. Introduced by SAIC professor Daniel Eisenberg. In Dutch with English subtitles. 1981, Netherlands, 16mm, 143 min.

JOHAN VAN DER KEUKEN (1938-2001, Netherlands) was a documentary filmmaker, author, and photographer. Extraordinarily prolific, he shot 55 documentaries in the span of 42 years, most produced for the Dutch television station VPRO. He also authored nine books on film and photography. “Lucid, complex, and exquisitely framed aural and visual compositions, Johan van der Keuken’s documentaries are based in a persistent curiosity about the ever-changing world and its inhabitants. Throughout his career, he sought forms sufficient to convey his sense of wonder and personal urge to communicate his global yet intimate perspective. JVDK…disregarded preconceptions about barriers between art forms and artificial subdivisions between fiction and documentary filmmaking. His filmmaking practice included “painting with sound,” rehearsing his “characters,” rearranging shots, looking for “the moment where the photographic image moves,” and otherwise structuring his films on techniques adapted from jazz improvisation. Usually a one-man band, he worked the camera, wrote, directed, and edited his own films, often with his wife, Noshka van der Lely, as sound operator. In this way, he controlled a multilayered documentation of the world and the place of the individual within it, creating links and contradictions that encourage the viewer to look beyond the frame.” (MoMA)

Visit MoMA’s interactive website on Johan van der Keuken

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