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Kat vs. Culture: Chapter 5

"Every dog is a lion at home."

-Henry George Bohn

Part XI: The Decor of Domesticity

Along a winding road, amidst scraggly trees, the embassy houses stand quietly guarded by thick metal gates. There is no sign of nationalistic grandeur, each building looks equally as respectable as the next, all in a striking tone of modest, cream-colored bourgeoisie. Neighborly yet detached; like the Hamptons but in bad weather and with a critical lack of swimming pools. Looking into the windows, I could only imagine a high-class ladies’ brunch, not an official extension of a government. The homeliness of the whole setup kept me confused, it was the perfect place for jogs and strolls and barbecues and raising kids. A familial bliss for bureaucrats and diplomats.

This was the first time ‘dutch hospitality’ seemed like an apt way to describe something. I’ve heard the expression bounced around, yet in comparison to the iconography of ‘southern hospitality’ it always seemed to come up short. But not in this little village of nations, each country-house as welcoming as your great Aunt Martha who married a doctor, had three children and, after sending them all off to college, retired peacefully to some renovated ranch or other. It was a calm and structural hospitality, the kind that blossoms from social and business contracts, the accepted kind of obligations.

This small alternate dimension nestled somewhere in the Hague has all the drama of a method-acted Oscar Wilde play performed in a spacious living room. It is pragmatic and banal, nostalgic and stout. All the things that you wish your parents were but you desperately don’t want to become.

 

Part XII: Kings and Queens and Buenos Aires

Portraits of the Dutch royal family look like promotional posters for a daytime soap opera. Just one look at their beaming faces and the episodes start writing themselves.

Scene one: His Majesty Willem-Alexander helps Catharina-Amalia with her homework.

Scene two: Princess Ariane finds a puppy on the street and sneaks it into the palace.

Scene three: Queen Maxima starts working on her self-help cookbook ‘Maxima’s Guide to Family and Filet Mignon’ but encounters a bout of writer’s block.

Each episode would end with a wholesome moral message: the class will be passed through determination, the puppy will become part of the family, and inspiration will be found in an unexpected encounter with an old friend.

However, after three more clicks through Wikipedia, I was surprised to discover that there was a lot more to this Dutch made-for-tv drama. Willem-Alexander, who is ‘actively involved in water management’, first introduced himself to Maxima as simply ‘Alexander’ so that she wouldn’t know that he was a prince. If that’s not an opener for a 2000’s romantic comedy with a soundtrack exclusively featuring the Plain White T’s and Colbie Caillat, then I don’t know what is. But we go on. Queen Maxima, who is first described as ‘an economics major’, is Argentinian. The divide between European and Latin American political structures generated enough controversy to prevent her father from coming to the wedding, which is really just a roundabout way of saying that her family has reaped the benefits of a dictatorship the likes of which is almost unimaginable in the context of the Netherlands.

But there is something far more fascinating to me than a little political fuss. After clicking on Queen Maxima in hopes of finding out information that would elevate her to the dramatic equivalent of ‘Evita’, I found out that she is far more relatable than I would’ve ever guessed. Under the section title ‘Controversy over statement on Dutch identity’, her 2007 quote reads as follows:

... but 'the' Dutch identity? No, I have not found it. The Netherlands is: large windows without curtains so everyone can look in; but also adherence to privacy and coziness. The Netherlands is: one biscuit at tea; but also great hospitality and warmth. The Netherlands is: sobriety, control and pragmatism; But also the experience of intense emotions together. The Netherlands is far too diverse to summarize in one cliché. 'The' Dutchman does not exist. As a consolation I can tell you that 'the' Argentinian also does not exist.

As far as I’m concerned, there is nothing controversial about that statement. Yet from the perspective of a European Royal Family, that is a radical thing to say. It is eloquent and incisive and self-aware. It shows the capacity to love and critique simultaneously, and that has gotta be the most comforting and regal quality in a monarch that I have ever encountered.

 

Part XIII: Carpe Diemen

“So my friends told me to invite this girl from tinder to a ‘Pimps and Hoes’ themed party. And we get there and I don’t know what’s going on. One of the stripper’s but a banana in her [gestures towards crotch area and widens eyes] vagina, and she just… shot it out of there. I’m from Diemen, I don’t know what to do in a situation like that.  Look and I have a video, but not of the banana, but she catches her underwear in her mouth. Look, isn’t that cool?”

Berlinale with Isabelle

Anticipation for the Berlin trip had been growing inside of us since the beginning of the year,

when our small MEAC group formed. She was our child.

We raised her and groomed her to be the best she could be. And that she did. 

The Off-Screen’s Berlin trip consisted of attending 4 movies at this year’s Berlinale film festival (3 of which had Q&A sessions afterwards
) along with a surprise comedy night and a movie-themed city tour (plus three nights of wild partying). To sum it up, we ate well, drank well, and bathed well. Interestingly enough, and as many of the observant Off-Screeners noticed, the third floor of our hostel seemed to be a slaughterhouse! Nevertheless, with free breakfast included and clean sheets we were all set. We were also very lucky to have gorgeous sunny weather while we were there, especially during the city tour. As far as nightlife goes, the first night Off-Screen was able to make their own party at a hole-in-the-wall bar-turned-club. The second night we met three comedians from Canada, Australia and Ireland (?) who gave a pretty good show as they tried their best to come up with jokes about Dutch people studying media… ha. This was followed by club Soda where girls got in for free + 3 free drinks (!!!) - sorry boys - but I think we all had a great time. The final night, after a pretty chill day exploring more of the city, we went to the Matrix. 

All in all, personally, this trip will be one of the highlights of my first year at UvA. To be able to go to an internationally known film festival and to not only experience the films themselves but to also have the chance to listen to the creators and collaborators who helped make these films was so inspiring. Moreover, the chance to visit a new city and learn more about its history and culture was something that made this trip so special. 

I would like to thank my fellow committee members for being able to pull this whole thing off, especially after staying on the ticket hotline for three days straight! And of course to the Off-Screeners who came on the trip and helped make it such an enjoyable experience.

Written by Isabelle Riley

Jude's Judgement

Jude is here to answer your most urgent question, so if you want some advice don't hesitate just to send an email to jude@offscreen.nl

Hey Jude,

I'm a famous Dutch interviewer, but my television program didn't go as expected. Now, I have to leave, because of the ratings. My whole reputation is gone. What should I do with my life? I am desperate.

Thanks.
T. Huys



Dear Twan,

I do think this whole loss of reputation is your own fault. So don’t dwell in feeling sorry for yourself. Because firstly it is not deserved. And secondly it is behaviour displayed by weak twats. So, now, how could you revive your career? In my opinion, the best opinion by the way, you should try and become an influencer relatable to the older people on this planet. Make instagram interesting for the 40+ year olds. Maybe show your tax work, or try and show your completion of a 1000 piece puzzle.
This is what old folks like. Alrighty, you can say thank you in an e-mail to jude@offscreen.nl

With all the love still available in my heart,
Jude

Hey Jude,

How do I deal with people being offended at me for not recognizing them? This shit bugs me. Thanks!

With love,
Anonymous girly girl



Dear G. Girl,

Hey, whatsup? I’m doing well, thanks.

Lovey love love,
Jude

Hey Jude,

 

Everyday I struggle with the hardest choice in my life. What do I eat for dinner? This gives me so much anxiety. How to fix this? Please, help, please.

 

Bye,

A. Adrians

 

Dear A. Adrians,

Don’t eat. This solves all the problems. Maybe drink something for the cals.You’ll lose weight and and you’ll lose your anxiety. No probs, my G.

 

Byebye,

Judems

This Month On-Screen

Festivals and Exhibitions

 

Movies That Matter

You might have already heard about this festival, because during Off-Screens charity gala, this was the event we raised money for. Movies That matter is a film and debating festival that focuses on showing films and documentaries with themes connected to human rights and environmental sustainability. Apart from the screenings and the usual Q&A's with the filmmakers, this festival also invites human rights activists and organizes a series of workshops, seminars and masterclasses with a variety of themes. They try to create room for communication and discussion amongst the audience to make them more involved with the themes treated in the movies that are screened during the festival. Recurring focus programmes of the festival are, for example, “Camara Justitia”, a series of films focussing on international law, and a set of movies about human rights activism. This year, other themes include “Save the planet”, “Extreme democracy” and “Earth at stake”.

The main location of the festival is in The Hague, spread out over several cinemas across the city. Even though this yearly edition of the festival is really worth undertaking the trip to that city, if this doesn’t work for you Movies That Matter also has a travelling programme (Movies That Matter On Tour), that travels monthly to a number of different cities across the country, including Amsterdam. This year's edition of the festival takes place between 22 and 30 March and tickets for the screenings can be bought at the website, with discounts for students.

What to Watch?

Blockbuster of the Month: Captain Marvel

Marvel is back with yet another superhero movie to add to their collection. This movie is meant to connect all the plot lines just before the final movie Avengers: Endgame. Captain Marvel is the origin story of Captain Marvel, Nick Fury and SHIELD. Captain Marvel A.K.A. Carol Danvers is a ordinary woman who ends up in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races. After she loses her memory and obtains her power Carol has to find herself again while also saving the earth. Captain Marvel is an action packed galactic superhero movie with a good dose of humor. The movies lead actor Brie Larson caused a lot of controversy by promoting the movie as a mainly feminist movie. A lot of Marvel fans don’t get why she is promoting it like that. Captain Marvel is definitely worth checking out.

Release date: 06-03-19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surprise of the Month: The Mule

Clint Eastwood is back as a director and actor in his own movie. Clint Eastwood plays a 90 year old Korean war veteran who becomes a drugs trafficker for a Mexican drugs cartel. It is meant to be his last job but it slowly but surely goes wrong. This project is great way for Clint Eastwood to show to the world that he still has the spark. A lot of big names, like Bradley Cooper and Michael Peña, were honoured to work together with Clint. The Mule is a great action packed exciting story with an extraordinary cast.

Release date: 07-03-19

Netflix Newest: The Umbrella Academy

Netflix is working hard on their superhero movie collection, so they have released a new superhero series called The Umbrella Academy. The series is about a family of superhero children adopted by a millionaire. The millionaire named Sir Reginald Hargreeves has adopted these children with the aim to save the world. The way he raises his children is unorthodox and strict which makes the family slowly fall apart. The story starts just after Sir Reginald died and the children are finally back together, but they find out the world is ending in eight days.

Release date: 15-02-19

 

 

Golden Oldie: Galactik Football

Let’s dive back in our pasts and highlight one of the great series of that time. This time we go into Galactik Football, a masterpiece of Jetix and Disney XD. Galactik Football is a story about the sport football which is set in a world that gives people a special power called the flux. The flux is forbidden to be used across the universe. The only moment people are allowed to use the flux is during the game of football. This brings the game to another level, which means that football has become one of the most prominent parts of the universe. The story follows a small time team that eventually becomes the team of planet earth. Galactik Football is a great concept with an interesting backstory and some great visuals. I would recommend all of you to rewatch this modern tv classic.

Imagine Filmfestival

Imagine is the Netherlands biggest filmfestival for fantastic cinema, screening a large number of science fiction, horror and fantasy movies. Imagine sees fantastic film as a rich source of thought experiments that anticipate or reflect on social and technological developments. Together with the audience and professionals, they want to examine the relationship between the legacy of fantastic film and current developments in society. They present serious themes, such as “Let’s talk about Sects” that focuses on well known sect leaders and the psychology of their followers, or “Slash-o-rama” for horror fans that are not afraid of blood, screening horror classics from the eighties until now.

The festival takes place in the EYE Filmmuseum, located in the North side of Amsterdam. Ticket sales just started through the website of the EYE.

ShellShock

Every year, the EYE organises a series of specific themed film programs, that try to give unknown films more attention and steer up the discussion around the topics they threat. This spring program ShellShock treats war traumatism in cinema on many different levels. The program includes movies from a great number of different genres, that have one important thing in common: their characters are dealing with overcoming the terrors of war they have been through. Apart from the movies, the program includes a series of lectures that elaborate further upon the theme. The guests vary from psychologists to Syrian refugees willing to tell their story. The goal is to create more audience awareness around the topic and help people communicate about it with the help of cinematic language.

The program takes place between the 27th of March and the 24th of April. Tickets for screenings can be bought on the regular EYE website.

© Off-Screen

www.uva.nl