For the second issue of Screen Director, I sat down with Jessica Hobbs, who spoke about her career in television.Read More
We’ve just toured around Rotterdam and I feel really, really, really compelled to write this, as we sit in a bar, prior to going and meeting some of Elise ’s friends nearby.
To begin, we hopped on a high speed train to Rotterdam, which we then had to pay an extra 10 euros each for the privilege. A bit of a rip off.
But that kind of defines my feelings about Rotterdam in general. It’s kind of a city that was built in something of a rush to repair itself after the war, and yet is now in an awkward position of having rushed so hard, only to turn around and realise the end was not the goal.
It feels in this town very empty, and filled with artifice - the concrete buildings (which will probably be torn down in 100 years thanks to concrete cancer) are a gesture at being cool, instead of being confident enough to just be cool.
Perhaps the best example of this is that in the pub we’re currently at, they don’t even serve Rotterdam beer! It’s kind of the Fosters of the city - it tastes like shit, they only export and no one local drinks it.
But another example of this was when I went to take a photo of the city a cyclist called out “Mooi he?” which Elise translated to me as, “Beautiful yeah?” I kind of didn’t agree at all, and that the purpose of my photo was to capture the city for myself, as a mechanism to better articulate my genuine intuitive rejection of the place.
Unlike my arrival in both Maastricht and Amsterdam, where I had an inexplicable joy for being in such a cool place, where the atmosphere was tangible, Rotterdam didn’t have that going for it. (To be fair, we were in Amsterdam on a Friday afternoon, and Maastricht around Carnivale, whereas it’s Monday afternoon now) but I can’t help feel as if this place is so akin to Perth, yet in a more complete state. It’s as if they’ve finished it and now are done.
The purpose of all my writing is to help me articulate what and how I’m feeling about this city, and granted it is difficult to feel something about a city in an afternoon, it’s just so damn up in my face, it’s as if my intuition is screaming at the top of my lungs.
Perhaps its because to me, modern architecture is so damn prolific and homogenised and all over the freaking globe, that the old stuff is getting destroyed at an alarming rate to make way for the new. But it feels like there’s a genuine vibe that the traditionally considered greatest cities of the world like, New York, Paris, London and Amsterdam have that they were built out as they went, and have a vibe that evolved, over a prolonged period of time, which changes as tastes, economies and histories did, and so have this strange hangover - characteristics that make them amazing to passerbys.
Whereas on the other hand, thanks to mankind’s current ability to make sweeping change so quickly, there feels as if there is little time for rest, reflection and adjustment. If you sign off on the plans for a city, it is built so quickly that you don’t have a hell of a lot of time to test it before you’re stuck with it.
And that brings it’s own problems.
Whilst I am a fan of modernism - my affinities for Apple and Ikea testify to this, I do wonder where certain elements of inspiration will come from when everything unifies at the rate it currently does.
Walking along speaking with Elise, who may be rather frustrated by my vocalised opinions of the place, lead me to another epiphany that perhaps the reason so many of these cities have evolved as they have is because architects and urban planners were originally inspired by the great cities, yet when they built them, the vibe was off - and so in the progression of their ability to provide a result close to their tender, they iterated. Similar to the wedding industrial complex, they realised that they could deliver on the look of place; but a feeling needed to generate organically, and so they more or less ignored it.
Before I wrap up, I do feel the need to recognise that Rotterdam was levelled during WWII and so the people felt that instead of rebuilding, they’d approach their city as a clean slate. So what we’ve got now is something of a healing process - the people at the time, felt like they were achieving something positive and fulfilling.
Perhaps it’s serves as yet another reminder of the cost of war.
For the beautiful artefacts and artworks we’ve been so lucky to see and experience (thanks to technological progress, which I grant has it’s definite advantages - what can I say, it’s a paradox) on this trip have been so hugely inspired by nature, it seems difficult to distance them from the artworks themselves.
Perhaps I just question the effect this will have on people in the future.
I’m going to drink the rest of my not-from-Rotterdam beer now.
And get off my lawn!
I don’t think there was a more opportune time or place to see a film than Elise, her friends and I seeing The Monuments Men in the Tuschinski Theatre in Amsterdam.
As a film, it definitely has a few issues with pacing and tone, but is still interesting and charismatic enough to make it worth a watch.
However if timing is everything, then we just happened to see it after having been to Bruges, Antwerp, Ghent, Koln and Frankfurt, places mentioned in the film and we’re going to Paris later this week.
What was particularly opportune, was that whilst in Bruges, we made the effort to see Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child, which was featured heavily in the film, inside the Church of Our Lady which was largely under repair.
I do remember thinking, when standing there looking at it, there had to be a more elaborate history to it, as whilst the craftsmanship was definitely beautiful, I wasn’t sure what separated it from the other sculptures we’ve seen throughout Europe.
As it turns out, it’s the only Michelangelo outside of Italy and was captured by both Napoleon and Hitler, and has made it through, in tact.
That’s not a bad rap for a piece of art.
Maastricht almost cannot be a real place - it looks far too much like a film set. Point a camera in any direction and you'll get gold.Read More
Yesterday we visited the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, which was a really cool place, and has given me further inspiration for the film I'm wanting to make
I am a huge fan of David Michod's first film, Animal Kingdom, and this trailer looks incredible. Can't wait to check it out.
We finally made it to Europe and have spent our first night walking around Frankfurt. This place makes great pretzels
I've started watching HBO's new show, True Detective and it is a dense, humid show.
From Adam Arkapaw's grimy cinematography, to the constantly sweaty appearances of both Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, and the swampy bayous of Louisiana, there is something about the style of this show that is truly transcendent and captures the mood and feel of the US south that I can't get over.
The above titles, directed by Patrick Claire, an artist I've been following for several years again gets to the core of this kind of a show.
And I have to give props to the sound designers and how they've mixed present day McConaughey's voice, it's so deep and baritone. It's awesome.
That there's only 8 episodes in this series might be too few...
Issue 02 of the iPad Magazine I publish on behalf of the Australian Director's Guild has been published to the Newsstand.
Inside I interview director Jessica Hobbs, Bob Connolly has included his Harvey Weinstein address, Stephen Wallace shares Part 2 of his history of the ADG and Mike Hoath's film Crosshairs is featured.
You can check it out here.