Frans Zwartjes

Frans Zwartjes

Frans ZWARTJES (1927-2017, Netherlands) studied music and played viola for five years with the Netherlands Opera. He went on to be a painter and sculptor, especially of experimental objects. Since the end of the 1960s, Zwartjes has been known for his grainy black-and-white films and inspiring free teaching methods, which he put into practice at the Design Academy Eindhoven, the Free Academy of Visual Art in The Hague and the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. Zwartjes has made more than 50 films, many of which are widely known internationally. American writer and filmmaker Susan Sontag once described him as "the most important experimental filmmaker of his time" and in 1990 he received the Ouborg Award for his work as a visual artist. In 2005, he was the subject of a documentary by filmmaker – and former student – Ruud Monster, titled The Great Wizard. An important part of Zwartjes' work has been preserved, restored and taken up in the experimental film collection of the EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam. Frans Zwartjes passed away in November 2017 in The Hague, at the age of 90.

Filmography

Dolls (1968, short), Sorbet I (1968, short), Sorbet II (1968, short), Birds (1968, short), A Fan (1969, short), Visual Training (1969, short), Lijkensynode Stage-play (1969, short), Compilatie (1969, short), Anamnesis (1969, short), Eating (1969, short), Collage (1969, short), Spare Bedroom (1969, short), Toilet (1969, short), Seats Two (1969, short), Behind Your Walls (1970, short), Through the Garden into the Living (1970, short), They Are Five (1970, short), Spectator (1970, short), Living (1971, short), Moving Stills (1972, short), Rocking Room (1972, short), Filmdecor opera Blauwbaard (1972, short), Audition (1973, short), Bedsitters (1974, short), Contact (1974, short), June (1974, short), About Seven Minutes (1974, short), Mensen/People (1974, short), Holy Family (1974, short), Body Art (1975, short), It’s Me (1976), Pentimento (1978), Taboe (1979, short), Sportief en toch gekleed (1980, short), In extremo (1980), Medea (1982, TV), Moord in de Cuyperspoort (1982, short), Rudi van Dantzig repeteert (1984, short), Ik hou gewoon mijn adem in (1984, short), Charon (1986, short), Preparation (1989, short), Portret Truus Bronkhorst, danser (1991, short), Beyond (1993, short), How Did You Know I Was in Trouble (1997, short), Confidential (2001, short), Raw 1.0 (2012, short), Tribute to Art #2 (2016, short, co-dir)

Frans Zwartjes at IFFR

Living

Living

Man, woman and camera live in mutual tension with each other and the empty space. Zwartjes' masterpiece.tekst IFFR 1992:Living is a demonstration of the virtuoso camera-work in the films of Zwartjes from this period. He plays the lead in the film, but at the same time operates the (hand-held) camera which he points at himself. Zwartjes' technique of hand-held filming (without looking through the viewfinder which he couldn't anyway in this case) in rapid yet flowing movements reaches its perfection here. Zwartjes: 'I was as strong as an ox in those days.' The film is part of the series Home Sweet Home, exploring the various rooms in a house (Zwartjes' own house, new at the time, in The Hague). Zwartjes' wife Trix also plays a role in Living.The film was shot with an extremely wide-angle lens which distorted the surroundings and the people. The latter move restlessly through the house; the mood is that of a nightmare. The journey through the house to the top ends in the light.

Frans Zwartjes
  • 15'

  • Netherlands

IFFR 1992

Living

Living

Man, woman and camera live in mutual tension with each other and the empty space. Zwartjes' masterpiece.tekst IFFR 1992:Living is a demonstration of the virtuoso camera-work in the films of Zwartjes from this period. He plays the lead in the film, but at the same time operates the (hand-held) camera which he points at himself. Zwartjes' technique of hand-held filming (without looking through the viewfinder which he couldn't anyway in this case) in rapid yet flowing movements reaches its perfection here. Zwartjes: 'I was as strong as an ox in those days.' The film is part of the series Home Sweet Home, exploring the various rooms in a house (Zwartjes' own house, new at the time, in The Hague). Zwartjes' wife Trix also plays a role in Living.The film was shot with an extremely wide-angle lens which distorted the surroundings and the people. The latter move restlessly through the house; the mood is that of a nightmare. The journey through the house to the top ends in the light.

Frans Zwartjes
  • 15'

  • Netherlands

IFFR 2004