Frans Zwartjes
L’Âge d’Or Festival 2017
Thu 19 Oct 2017, 21:00 to 22:00
Film, Performance

“Some of the documentarists like Johan van der Keuken or Louis van Gasteren and Ed van der Elsken picked up some of these issues of course (explicit nudity) in their films. And then came Zwartjes, who, out of nothing, thirty or forty years after the Filmliga, started thinking that he could do things by himself, even though his background was not in film.”

Simona Monizza (Curator of Experimental Film, EYE Amsterdam)


“I’ve had thousands of students with an idea. They know absolutely one hundred percent how they want it to be. Recently someone came up to me, threw a notebook on the table and said, ‘There’s three films in there.’ I said, ‘Oh, you’re a writer!’ ‘No, they’re films,’ he said, ‘all I have to do now is film them.’ I said: ‘God, knock it off. You can’t be serious!’ The thing is that they don’t have an eye for things that just come up, only for what they think up. It is much more realistic if you just concern yourself with what there is. Often they want to know everything. But it is true of all the arts that you have to know nothing. Otherwise you go ahead and do what you know. I don’t tell them anything. They have to discover it all themselves. There are no rules. I am against telling them: ‘You should not cross the line,’ or ‘You should not follow a really extreme wide angle with a tele shot.’ I can’t think of one reason why you shouldn’t! The film will definitely not fall apart. Or; ‘Don’t make hand-held shots with a long focus lens,’ because if you happen to want shaky images, that’s precisely what you should do. So very few rules are left … it’s all just a question of taste. If they can find the exposure lever, they know enough. Whether you’ve got a large camera, a 70mm Panavision or a tiny little 8mm camera – the size doesn’t matter and neither does the budget. The things that really matter are creativity and inventiveness. Those are really the only important things.”

Frans Zwartjes in an interview with Mike Hoolboom



Birds (Frans Zwartjes, 1970) - 5’

Toilet (Frans Zwartjes, 1970) - 2’

How Did You Know I Was In Trouble? (Frans Zwartjes, 1995) - 7’

Behind Your Walls (Frans Zwartjes, 1970) - 12’

Spare Bedroom (Frans Zwartjes, 1970) - 18’

Portrait of Frans Zwartjes (Stanley Schtinter, 2017) - 8’


This program will be screened as part of the opening night of Âge D’Or Festival 2017. The films will be accompanied by a live soundtrack. The Frans Zwartjes Soundsystem (Stanley Schtinter, Samuel Kilcoyne, Takatsuna Mukai) will be playing Frans Zwartjes’ music for his films Spectator (1970) and Living (1971).