The Flying Dutchman Meets the Beatles

Rotterdam

In my DVD vault I came across a film I had not watched, but that aroused my curiosity. It was just a 20-minute film with the title ‘Rotterdam-Europoort’ by Joris Iven from 1966.

Joris Ivens, Documentary Filmmaker

Now, Joris Ivens born in the Netherlands was a very important documentary filmmaker especially known for his anti-fascist films in the 30ies and 40ies, when he lived in the US. His political sympathies were with Communism. After World War II, he lived for 10 years in Eastern Bloc states, and he was even befriended with Mao Zedong.

What is this documentary with this rather modern sounding corporate video title ‘Rotterdam-Europoort’ about made by a man with this background? Especially considering that the topic was a very successful capitalist industrial town in his homeland in the booming 60ies.

Well, one of the first images are a flying pan over oil installations with a burning flame just like in Blade Runner. Another image is a tinted spooky looking fast boat. This is definitely not a homage to the progressive economic force of capitalism.

And actually, it is not about capitalism, neither, so it seems. It is more about modern live as a cycle of birth and death, where the world belongs to the young and the old are there to die. It is a more bewildered view on the contrast between destruction (in war) and building, high culture and mass sport entertainment, a uniform, anonymous life in a mass culture society, in small flats, at workplaces. This is Hegelian dialectic and the images of the people in the town are rather triste and mundane.

The Flying Dutchman

The central character is the Flying Dutchman, who is also narrating, but it’s less about his story than about how he perceives what he sees.

The jumps between footage of the port with all its activities and the images of people in the town from wedding to work and to going to cinemas give the impression of something inevitable that happens, because that’s how it always was.

‘Rotterdam-Europoort’ has impressive images of the port. The images of the people in the town are typical 60ies. The movements are fast and not so smooth as it is possible nowadays. This gives the film an authenticity. The visual motifs vary and a style as such isn’t visible. This rather arbitrary choice looks chaotic, but also gives an impression of an invisible drive which can’t be changed.

Actually, ‘Rotterdam-Europoort’ was originally intended to be what we call nowadays a corporate video. It was commissioned by the town Rotterdam. In principle, it was thought to be an information film, but it is more an essay a poetic documentary – a film that doesn’t inform, but it opens up the appetite to learn more about Rotterdam, the Netherlands, the Flying Dutchman, that period of time and the filmmaker Joris Iven.

A Personal Film

It is a very personal film. Joris Iven was 68 years old at that time he made the film. When he shows the youth on motorcycles and going into the cinema to watch a Beatles film (‘Help’ by Richard Lester) – or when the younger kids play shooting people with guns, there is a sense of disappointment. One kid points the gun at the Flying Dutchman and tells him that he is killed. The flying Dutchman counters with a smile that this isn’t possible. For a moment it seems that Joris Iven defiantly says that his ideals will never die.

Share:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Leave a comment

Connect with us

Product Videography

Most Popular

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

No spam, notifications only about new blog posts and updates, etc.

On Key

Related Posts

Rotterdam

The Flying Dutchman Meets the Beatles

In my DVD vault I came across a film I had not watched, but that aroused my curiosity. It was just a 20-minute film with the title ‘Rotterdam-Europoort’ by Joris Iven from 1966. Joris Ivens, Documentary Filmmaker Now, Joris Ivens born in the Netherlands was a very important documentary filmmaker especially known for his anti-fascist

Mr Blandings build his dream house

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House – A ‘Mad Man’ already in 1948

Have you ever heard of ‘Mr.  Blandings Builds his Dream House’ from 1948? I didn’t. BBC currently offers to watch this film on their iPlayer. The cast is promising: Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Melvyn Douglas and the legendary H.C. Potter as director. So, worth a try. It Starts with a Surprise And it starts with

In the Heights - Film Review by Crystalfilm.org

‘In the Heights’ is Here To Stay

The just released film ‘In the Heights’  based on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical is what we need this Summer: A love declaration to life. There’s nothing new here. We know hot summers in New York. Spike Lee’s ‘Do the right thing’ showed it. We know how different ethnic cultures are cramped separated in different blocks contradicting

Michael Caine

What Does It Mean If British TV & Film Lose Their European Status in the EU?

Recently, the Guardian has published an article with the title ‘EU prepares to cut amount of British TV and film shown post-Brexit’, which promises to be just another piece in the Brexit jigsaw of lost privileges and opportunities for the UK. Removing the status of British TV programs and film as ‘European Work’ According to

Showreels / Promos

Watch Our Latest Promo Video

Product Photo

2021

Drone

2020

Pre-Lockdown

2019-2020

Motion Graphics

2017-2020

Original

2018