In Vakantie van de filmer, van der Keuken brings together various audio and visual material: memories of an elderly married couple, personal holiday photos, the saxophonist Ben Webster, poems and a portrait of his grandfather who introduced him to the world of photography. A representation in which the various spaces flow together prompting reflection about the tension between film and photography, time standing still and the moving image. Van der Keuken revises and reformulates, like an alchemist, his own aesthetic principles and shows how these tie in with his own social environment.
“Het licht gaat aan. De foto is een herinnering. Ik herinner mij wat ik nu zie. Maar de film herinnert zich niks. De film gebeurt altijd nu. Ik kan het gezicht van de aarde niet zien. Ik kijk over de schouder van de aarde in het licht. Het licht ben ik zelf, onder andere.”
Johan van der Keuken in de voice-over epiloog
« On allume la lumière. La photo est un souvenir. Je me souviens de ce que je vois maintenant. Mais le film ne se souvient de rien. Le film se déroule toujours maintenant. Je ne puis voir le visage de la terre. Je regarde par-dessus son épaule dans le lumière. Et la lumière, c'est moi – parmi d'autres. »
Johan van der Keuken dans l'épilogue en voix-off
« Un de ces petits films qui sont des chefs-d'oeuvres inoubliables. »
“What I am striving for in Filmmaker’s Holiday for example, as far as I am concerned as a person is to get to something which will explain the relativistic aspects of my life. On that level the problem is to have this possibility of relativity without stopping to speak socially – which is also a conflict. Because if you take a stand politically or socially you cannot afford relativity too often. On the other hand it is true that in the development of the individual he should acquire a certain degree of relativity in order to develop or see. Showing a clock is a matter of relativity. Putting it there and seeing that it is only a clock – and in between having the joy of speculation as to what it might mean. Also it’s fun. We shouldn’t forget that an element of play is important even in the most serious of subjects.
I want to see film aesthetics as a relative thing. If I have an aesthetic it functions in a relative way. It is a set of relationships – but as related to outside reality, its quite relative too. This is the core of the matter. The problem is not to annihilate yourself when you are confronted with ugly reality, but sometimes accept the fact that you do not have the power to solve all the problems – or make all the relationships come off.
In regards to Filmmaker’s Holiday, I wonder if it is possible to recover the purity of one’s own experience – my experience of making the film is now in the past but my seeing the film recovers the past – and recreates it, constantly negating to generate a new present – this for me is fundamental to film.”
Johan van der Keuken2
- 1. Jean-Paul Fargier, “Festivals: Edimbourg,” Cahiers du Cinéma,293 (1978): 66.
- 2. Ron Burnett, “A Discussion with Johan Van Der Keuken,” Cine-Tracts, 4 (1978): 19-21.