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Dutch Film Special (6): Golden Calfs, new talents and Morgan Knibbe's handstand

"Perhaps the best Dutch film in years." No, that judgement was not made during the Golden Calf awards ceremony, but as early as Thursday. That's when Morgan Knibbe received the award from the alternative competition Forum of Directors for his overwhelming and lyrical documentary Those Who Feel the Fire Burning. I just watched the trailer again and immediately felt carried away again. The jury also praised Knibbe's disregard for documentary/fiction conventions. They were right. What a debut! If there was a Golden Calf for best newcomer, I would gladly grant it to Knibbe.

Knibbes handstand

Double great that even the 177 Academy voters had not failed to notice how special Knibbe's wanderings were among illegals washed up in Italy, seen through the mind of a drowned man. The Golden Calf for Best Documentary was also for Those Who Feel the Fire Burning. Knibbe himself omitted the customary thank-you and instead did a handstand on stage. Again, I couldn't agree more.

More new talent

Were there any other newcomers who got a Golden Calf in their hands? Sure. Someone to keep an eye on is Mees Peijnenburg, who received this award for best television drama No kings in our blood, about a brother and sister trying to stay afloat in an emotionally chaotic world. Broadcast 6 October, NPO 3. Peijnenburg is someone who seeks the feeling rather than the story. With that approach, he also made the short film Un creux dans mon coeur, now the Dutch Oscar entry.

Probably not a coincidence that best actor television drama Jonas Smulders also plays in No Kings. Another promising talent.

Dutch film criticism also seeks fresh perspective

The five-member jury of the Kring van Nederlandse Filmjournalisten wrestled with the fact that apples to oranges had to be compared (audience films, arthouse, documentary) and chose the modest, very personal and frenziedly directed Between 10 and 12, which "hit the jury mercilessly hard". How, on an ordinary day, tragedy strikes an ordinary Rotterdam family. Handsome debut by Peter Hoogendoorn (direction, screenplay).

Prince underestimated

So far, no complaints. But now I have to get off my chest that Prince of up-and-coming talent Sam de Jong, someone with guts and creativity, is nevertheless grossly underrated. Eight nominations, but only those for music and editing cashed in. That could have been better.

Wende and Atlantic. passed

I even got a bit angry when it turned out that Wende Snijders missed out on the Golden Calf despite her piercing performance in Zurich. As far as I am concerned, she is also one of last year's discoveries. Zurich, with four nominations and no Golden Calfs, has been sorely missed.

Something similar can be said of Jan-Willem van Ewijk's quirky windsurfing drama Atlantic. (camera nomination) which also had to go home without a Calf. It did get noticed abroad, but not by Academy voters. So not even a jury to blame.

Two best films

The most curious accolade this year is the Audience Calf for The Club of Sinterklaas & The Talking Horse. Or should we interpret this as a pro-Black Pete vote, as someone whispered to me?

Fully in line with expectations, on the other hand (10 nominations), the Golden Calf for Best Film was for the Limburg father and son drama Gluckauf. Wasn't my preference, but solid and passionately shot drama for sure. Also awarded for screenplay, direction and camera.

All other Golden Calfs on the NFF website.


Finally, I wholeheartedly echo the words Arnon Grunberg spoke about limits and happiness before handing over the documentary calf to Morgan Knibbe. Among other things, he argued that happiness is a risk and that most of us prefer to cling to our unhappiness. Those who dare to seek happiness are a brave vanguard we should welcome.

Leo Bankersen

Leo Bankersen has been writing about film since Chinatown and Night of the Living Dead. Reviewed as a freelance film journalist for the GPD for a long time. Is now, among other things, one of the regular contributors to De Filmkrant. Likes to break a lance for children's films, documentaries and films from non-Western countries. Other specialities: digital issues and film education.View Author posts

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