October 21, 2013

NPR remembers Bert Haanstra’s Zoo (1962)

Filed under: Animals,Film by Branko Collin @ 4:13 pm

In 1962 Dutch cinema’s golden child Bert Haanstra visited the zoo of Amsterdam, Artis, during a sun-filled period and filmed the visitors as they were laughing, yawning, scratching themselves, chatting and taking naps. Then he filmed animals doing the same thing and edited the result to contrast the two groups and perhaps to say “we are not that different, you and I”.

The result seems comedic, making fun of the little people that are closer to the animals that they themselves seem to believe. The film itself is not too clear about which position its maker chooses. The editing and some of the videography is clearly done for comedic effect (ostriches’ heads popping up, the walk of the penguin), but the powerful walk of the tiger and the jazz music by Pim Jacobs do not fit the label ‘comedy’.

American broadcaster NPR seems to like the humane explanation the best:

Magically, [the film] makes the cages, the trenches, the walls disappear, and what you get is a real zoo — a mix-it-up porridge of animal life, where all the animals, the mischievous little boys, the oh-so-shy monkey, the proud baboon, the wide-eyed girl and the yawning lady trade moods, glances, worlds — our differences melt into little moments of us being like them, them being like us.

The name Artis was originally the zoo’s nickname. It came from a text written over the gates, “Natura Artis Magistra” (meaning “Nature is the teacher of art”). You can watch the video on the NPR page or by buying the complete works DVD set.

Thanks Fred Yoder for the tip.

(Photo: screenshot of the documentary)

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July 8, 2013

Armenian Genocide survivor turns 107 in the Netherlands

Filed under: History by Branko Collin @ 3:59 pm

The oldest man in the Netherlands, Mr Serob Mirzoyan of Amersfoort, turned 107 last Monday.

Interestingly Mr Mirzoyan was born in the Armenian part of what then was the Ottoman Empire (currently Turkey). According to a website called Horizon Weekly he moved from Diarbekir in Turkey to Iraq and from there to the Netherlands in 1996. Mayor Lucas Bolsius of Amersfoort came by to congratulate the birthday boy.

It is not clear whether Mr Mirzoyan was still living in Turkey when the Armenian Genocide took place, but if he did his reaching such an old age seems to be a triumph over the Turks that tried to exterminate the Armenian people.

According to De Stad Amersfoort, Mr Mirzoyan is a devout Christian who has read the Bible at least twenty times front to back. He also likes to listen to music.

(Photo of ponds near Diyarbakır by Wikipedia user Dûrzan, some rights reserved)

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June 18, 2012

Photo expo shows 24 hours of Rotterdam

Filed under: Photography by Branko Collin @ 6:10 pm

De Kracht van Rotterdam (‘kracht’ means power, strength) is a photo exhibition and contest in which 12 photographers, one for each neighbourhood of the city, show many facets of the largest port of the Netherlands.

The photographers had to base their pictures on a poem by Jules Deelder and Jana Beranová, and each had to shoot four photos within 24 hours. Click on the photographers’ names to see their works, a short bio, and a map that shows where in Rotterdam the photos were taken.

Starting July 2 there will be an exhibit in the streets of Rotterdam. The exact locations will be announced on the website. On that same day, Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb will award one photo with a prize of 3,500 euro at one of the locations. The exhibit will run until September.

From the website:

We should not just show [the power of Rotterdam] in the media and in museums, but also and especially outside these institutions, in the city itself. The people of Rotterdam can be found on the road more often than in a museum. Show Rotterdammers what their city looks like, what the city can do, what it does and achieves. Show South how North sleeps, show Hilligersberg an afternoon in Charlois, and show that there really isn’t much that separates dreams, ambitions and possibilities.

Shown here is the harbour area of Hoogvliet Pernis, as portrayed by Jet van Schie who graduated in 2005 from the Willem de Kooning academy.

Update 19-6-2012: I had a quick chat with the organiser, and have merged the info she gave me with the article—Branko.

(Link: Trendbeheer)

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May 22, 2010

Bicycle rush hour in Utrecht

Filed under: Bicycles by Branko Collin @ 1:05 pm

In this time lapse video of the traffic at a busy intersection in Utrecht, the participants are weaving in and out in almost perfect harmony. The effect is positively hypnotic.

I am given to understand that what makes this video by Mark Wagenbuur special is that the main form of transportation in it is the humble bicycle. As a result, the video has gone viral among treehuggers.

Link: Metafilter. Video: Youtube.

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February 16, 2009

Miep Gies turned 100

Filed under: General,History by Branko Collin @ 8:31 am

Miep Gies, the woman who was important in Anne Frank’s life and pivotal in what we now know about Anne Frank turned 100 yesterday. In 1942, when the Frank family looked for a place to hide, Miep Gies, her husband Jan and three others helped the Franks stay hidden in the Achterhuis. Then, when through betrayal the Franks were taken to concentration camps, Gies managed to hide Anne Frank’s diary from the Nazis with the idea of giving it back to Anne after the war.

As a result, the world can now put a face to one of the millions that were murdered.

Even without the meddling of evildoers not many are given to live to a hundred. Sometimes karma just works. Miep, I hope you had a very good 100th birthday.

Photo: Anne Frank Stichting (Miep Gies in 1993).

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