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David Grossman: 'I know what it's like to live on with trauma'

More than 20 years ago, David Grossman's phone rang. A woman by the name of Eva Panić Nahir had something to say about an article he had published in an Israeli newspaper. Grossman smiles at the memory. 'What my piece was about I don't remember, except that she thought I had not gone far enough in my criticism of the government. I did find it refreshing to be attacked for once by someone from the left, instead of - as usual - the right wing.'

Love & Revenge aims to reshape the Arab world

You take film classics like Dracula and Star Wars, track down their Arabic remakes, and edit these fragments on a live soundtrack that fuses Arabic pop history with electronic music of today. This, in short, is the recipe of the dynamic collaboration between musician Rayes Bek and video artist Randa Mirza, better known as Love & Revenge. With their compelling show,... 

'Don't be too quick to think you know someone.' Six life insights from writer Rosita Steenbeek

She survived a brain haemorrhage and a serious car accident. As a result, writer Rosita Steenbeek (62) no longer has a fear of death, but an enormous zest for life. It has enriched her. By looking death in the eye, I understood that love is the most important thing in life'. 1. You can also be happy without a relationship 'I've been alone for a number of years and... 

Bring on that fair! 7 established facts that make an ever-younger festival Boulevard unique.

Theatre Festival Boulevard is a highlight of the festival summer every year. Because there are no barriers and because it carries the casual atmosphere of the city in every fibre. But it goes even further. Here are my seven learning moments: 1: Boulevard is more accessible than the city itself Some people find it verging on the hysterical, but... 

Impressive Minaret shows at Theatre Festival Boulevard that art survives disasters. (And check out what Miet Warlop pulls off with Dervishes)

Miet Warlop has exciting ideas, and carries them out. Now she is not unique in that. More artists do that. What makes Miet Warlop special is that it invariably leads to really special work. Take her latest creation, to be seen at Theatre Festival Boulevard, 'Ghost Writer and the Broken Hand Brake': she puts three people on stage and... 

The Netherlands' Flemishest festival. Theatre festival Boulevard sees artists searching for a way forward

'As programmers, we are more often in Ghent than in Amsterdam,' says Viktorien van Hulst, director of Theatre Festival Boulevard. The Bossche arts festival, which this year takes place from 1 to 11 August under the Sint Jan and at unexpected locations around the North Brabant capital, has for years stood out for its close ties with our southern neighbours. 'The Dionysian artists are sitting... 

Another day of life: a film experience that continues to irritate under the skin long after leaving the movie house.

It remains miraculous how much emotion intelligent animation can generate. In Another day of life (in cinemas from 14 March), the Angolan coverage by legendary Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuściński is captured in grandly drawn images. Combined with live footage and well-chosen archival material, it delivers an 85-minute hellscape that can be appreciated on several levels. Kapuściński... 

(Farida & The Iraqi Maqam Ensemble - Photo: Melanie Marsman)

5 Reasons why Le Guess Who? is the best festival in the whole world

During the 11th edition of Utrecht's Le Guess Who? (LGW) festival, more than 150 acts from 34 countries found a home in the city of Dom in a long weekend. Fraternisation in listening manages LGW that may definitely go into the books as the best festival in the whole world. And for these five reasons. 1. The whole world comes... 

View on the Acropolis and Partheon, Athens (photo author)

Documenta 14: You have 100 days to discover Athens

Every five years, the art world is turned upside down. Then it is time for the fourteenth Documenta. At that time, the German city of Kassel turns into a veritable Mecca for art connoisseurs and art lovers, snobs and connoisseurs. And, of course, tourists looking for that other Efteling. This year's Documenta has a sizeable Dutch contribution. But there is more: for the... 

Gardens Speak ©-Tania-El-Khoury-1-

Digging in the earth stays on the surface in Gardens Speak #HF16

There I am. Next to Holland Festival director Ruth Mackenzie, on a grave, as part of the installation Gardens Speak on the stage of the main hall of Theater Bellevue in Amsterdam. There is nothing to see, little to hear. Tone lights suggest a rising sun after a few minutes. I get up together with the ten other visitors. Quite a shame, because I was actually quite comfortable lying there.

The programme booklet sounded promising:

'Buried beneath the earth are the stories of ten gew...

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Dutch champion wins bronze at World Poetry Slam Championships

Ivo van Hove is America's best theatre director. The Nationale Opera recently picked up an Oscar for International Opera of the Year and now Carmien Michels, the Dutch Poetry Slam champion, has reached the third step of the podium of honour at the Poetry Slam World Cup. And this in the year when dyed-in-the-wool Girowinners are falling into the snow, racing drivers on their way to... 

Holland Festival 2016 Gardens-Speak-©-Jesse-Hunniford-1-

Audio, the new video (II): Syrian dead speak at Gardens Speak (HF16)

'This regime also rules over you after you die. The regime steals your story. They use you to tell their own story. Relatives are forced to sign statements that the dead were killed by the opposition. The regime uses the dead to oppress the living.' Lebanese artist Tania El Khoury made a statement: Gardens Speak (Gardens Speak). An installation, an immersive[hints]definition: immersive, making you forget the real world around you[/hints] performance, in which the spectators themselves are actors. A performance that consists of a mountain of earth from which soft voices sound from beneath tombstones. That performance comes in June to Amsterdam, as one of the examples of the new Holland Festival programming by festival director Ruth MacKenzie.

The pile of earth in and on which the installation takes place represents the many thousands of anonymous backyard graves in Syria. At the beginning of the Syrian civil war, the struggle was still mainly between opponents of President Assad's dictatorship and his (secret) police. The first victims were often still just students taking part in peaceful demonstrations, handing out pamphlets, or attending the funeral of a friend. After all: bombing funerals was and is a proven method of murderous regimes and crime syndicates to eliminate insurgent networks.

Tania El Khoury heard of the Syrian alternative in 2013: the private burial in one's own backyard, or failing that, in an anonymous city park, with no headstone or memorial. Such an action is both an expression of fear and an act of resistance: these are deaths that the government can no longer abuse. 'The play was not originally intended for European audiences either. It was made in Lebanon and the text was also in Arabic. The last thing I thought about was the European audience. The idea was

Voices Outside The Echo Chamber: we need exhibitions like this

An exhibition that puts our view of migration and migrants at the centre, critical of our migration policy but does not fall into easy pamphleteering, that is "Voices outside the echo chamber". On Friday 29 April, the exhibition "Voices outside the echo chamber"-an exhibition by Framer Framed, the Amsterdam-based organisation that has been questioning and commenting on the visual language in our arts for years-opened at the Tolhuistuin. After all,... 

'Oh my sweet land', a calm tale with blood-curdling content

Theatre maker Corinne Jaber got nothing from her father about his roots, except his passion for cooking and good food -she says in an interview. The outbreak of the Syrian civil war made her curious about her father's background. Together with Palestinian author Amir Nizar Zuabi, Jaber interviewed Syrian refugees in refugee camps. The result is this monologue, in which a fictional, half-Syrian-half... 

Arab women conquer Eye

A special film programme opens at Eye on 5 June: Where do we go now? Arab women behind the camera. Those who think of the Middle East and North Africa may think of conflicts and IS, perhaps of the origins of algebra, but probably not of women filmmakers. Yet they are rising considerably. In 1994, Moufida's Les Silences du Palais was... 

We had coffee with the uncrowned king of Iranian war photography

Moshen Rastani (1958) grins broadly, looks at me penetratingly, gestures, and puts his hand on his heart. "What is happening now, here, between you and me, in this conversation. That's what matters to me. We meet face to face. We communicate. Through each other's faces, we can visit the other's secret world. Such a camera is just a tool to make that contact."

Rastani was thrown into photography by the outbreak of the Iraq-Iran war. He emerged...

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Glass pendant in the shape of a face (4th-3rd century BC)

By the way, that city did not need to be destroyed at all: 7 myths about Carthage debunked in Leiden

The bad news is: most myths about Carthage are nonsense. The good news is, the reality is at least as fascinating. Until 10 May 2015, the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (RMO) in Leiden is showing the multifaceted history of a port city in present-day Tunisia, and once formidable rival of the Roman Empire. It simultaneously offers a glimpse... 

'For me, only the text exists' - Alberto Manguel & Hans Goedkoop on black pages #wu13

With a jam-packed programme like Writers Unlimited 2013, it sometimes happens that, even as a professional journalist, despite everything, you end up dropping in somewhere too late, and then just catch a glimpse of something really great. In this case, after the tour de force by Amos Oz and Adriaan van Dis, it was the spoken word performance by Kenyan Ngwatilo Mawiyoo. Mea culpa for that.

Mawiyoo introduced the Forget It! programme. A conversation with Hans Goedkoop (bek...

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Heartfelt plea against Arab shame culture #wu13

Lebanese writer Hanaan as-Sjaikh (Beirut, Lebanon, 1945) opened Wrtiters Unlimited on Thursday 17 January with a blazing argument against Arab shame culture. This, according to the writer whose books Het verhaal van Zahra, Vrouwen tussen hemel en zand, Beiroet blues and Alleen in Londen have been translated into Dutch, is so deeply embedded in society that family relationships and friendships are constantly strained by it. She gives an example:

...'my brother's friend...'

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Horror story of theatre show Coast overwhelms its narrators

Exactly how Little Red Riding Hood was eaten by the wicked wolf, the fairy tale does not tell. Fairy-tale-telling parents limit themselves to the before and after. And that the evil wolf is cut open by the hunter, freed from Little Red Riding Hood and filled with stones eventually ends up in a well to die is part of the winding down of the happy ending. Enough... 

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