Yes, I DID spend most of my stormy, sludgy, snowy but wonderful time in Amsterdam in the cinema. My this year highs were Let’s make Money!, a breath-taking docu from Erwin Wagenhofer (We feed the World) giving astonishing and frightening insights in the world of high finance – understandable, breath-taking and amazing even for a person like me with NO clue whatsoever about finances and no interest in it either. You wanna go and burn a bank after watching this…or an insurance company, a hedge funds, an emerging markets investment group or a tax haven in its entirety…a bit in English about the film can be found on the IDFA homepage.
Rough Aunties by Kim Longinotto had its world premiere at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam in 2008. It is a film about a South African organization fighting child abuse and helping abandoned, molested, raped and abused children in South Africa. They call themselves Bobbi Bear and do amazing work, fighting each single one of them the private life of an African woman with all its problems as well as helping others. The film made not only me cry. After the screening you would have heard a needle drop, so silent was it before the applause for Kim and the women branded to the stage. So strong the story of the Bobbi Bear ladies, setting their own life second to help those even more in need. Never forget I will the faces of those brave woman, who came for the premiere from Africa. One of them, barely 20 years old, lost her own son and only child. He tried to cross a river at a passage. A mine company had been digging illegally in the river bed and changed the fords. He was one out of six kids who died drowning whilst trying to get to the other side the usual way. The woman turned up the next day to her work at Bobbi Bear. A film close, careful and deep. A wonderful piece.
Last not least I want to mention here the latest Heddy Honigmann movie: Oblivion (El Ovido). After films like Crazy and Paris Underground Orchestra, Heddy Honigmann went back to the country she was born in, Peru. Knowing now from an online dictionary, that Oblivion means “the forgetting”, das Vergessen, the film feels even stronger in retrospective. Like many I had looked the word up for the first time when I saw Living in Oblivion. Some frog juice like in Heddy’s movie is good for the brain and the memory, it will help me not to forget again. Like always, she is so close to the people she works with and films. Heddy Honigmann manages to give us an insight in the history of a country ruled and run by a long line of presidents, suffering from oblivion. She manages to teach us a lesson, without us even feeling the tiniest bit, that we are tought something. We feel, laugh, cry a bit. And hum the rhythm of a song as we come slightly melancholic out of the cinema. I was so lucky to meet Heddy Honigmann the Opening Night of the IDFA. She was standing outside with my friend Jiska Rickels. Since she is such a Grande Dame of documentary film making, I always had envisioned a tall figure. But she is a tiny person, with amazing strong eyes. Not knowing who is this person in front of me, leaning wedged against a small pillow on a wall this night, I understood the next morning only, whom I met: Heddy Honigmann. I recognized her intense eyes on a photograph again. How much I would have loved to talk to her. Next time.
The Film Oblivion is out in theatres now in the Netherlands.
Trailer Let’s Make Money: