Will classic cinema survive the digital iconoclasm of the future? The question is not a new one but reawakens itself upon seeing the programme of the Netherlands Film Festival, which opens tonight with The gang of Oss By André van Duren.
Put that opening film next to Iconoclast, the festival's main theme, and you'll see what I mean. Van Duren's historical crime drama is tough, classic cinema, with even Brechtian undertones here and there. Authentic-looking, inspired by a rather unknown and grim piece of Dutch history, with great attention to the actors. Cinema that keeps the stories of our history alive. Classic, universal cinematic language.
If the festival's copywriters are to be believed, all that is about to change. The future, already to be seen and experienced at the NFF, belongs to iPads, 3D, streaming video and interactive films. Futurists predict we will be telling our stories in whole new ways. Fashionable? Innovative? Will it be a battle of directions, or will classic cinema simply continue to exist alongside all these new toys?
At least the website offers food for thought and exploration iconstormonline.co.uk where a plethora of ideas and programme elements are presented. Most notable is the crowdsourcing project of Paul Verhoeven, who plans to make a so-called user-generated film. Yes, we could do with a dyed-in-the-wool filmmaker in the user-generated future, too. At least not afraid of the future, that Verhoeven. Well done!
But of course, we also hope that he may one day film that life of Jesus anyway. Just, as exciting, old-fashioned cinema.