THE NETHERLANDS / 2005 / Dutch / Color, B&W / 35mm (1:1.66) / 70 min
Directors: Albert Elings, Eugenie Jansen
Script: Albert Elings
Photography: Eugenie Jansen, Rob Smits
Editing: Eugenie Jansen
Sound: Albert Elings, Michel Schöpping, Marc Lizier
Music: Rob Smits
Producer: Jaap van Hoewijk
Production Company, World Sales: Ruim Kader Films
In a Dutch farming village, residents and their animals live beside rich forests and the peaceful Rhine. Scenes from life here spanning a seven-year period is captured without commentary on film. At times the flooding river threatens rural life. In this apparently unchanging village, signs of development and change are emerging. The lumber industry is depleting the forest, a dilapidated brick factory that was once the center of industry is demolished and an underground railway tunnel opens as this once quiet town becomes wrapped in bustling activity.
[Director’s Statement] Lying on the bank of a broad river, nestled in the grass, overcome by summer lethargy. Staring at the sparkling rays of the sun reflected in the languidly flowing water. The droning of speedboats in the distance vies with the zoom of insects around one’s head. Here, in this foreland between the dike and the water, time adopts a different tempo. The cows ruminate to the rhythm of the wind that makes the long grass wave, and the water flows past, imperturbably, just as it should flow. But in the water meadows, everything is temporary, by definition. This ‘vague terrain’ only exists thanks to the grace of the river while it briefly fails to fill the full width of its bed.
The water meadows form a world apart. People, animals and buildings acquire a different appearance from this perspective. It is the ideal biotope to study time, to try and capture time. As long as you keep looking, and listening, long enough to the same piece of water meadow (and above all avoid talking about it), then eventually you can see time flow through it. And human opinions about progress undulate on its waves. That was the rather romantic point of departure for this film.
Foreland is not really a film at all. It is an experience. The experience of time, flowing through a unique Dutch landscape, for seven years.
Born 1965 in Valburg, between the great rivers of Holland, Albert Elings has been a documentary filmmaker since 1991. He studied at the Academy for Visual Arts and at the Netherlands Film and Television Academy in Amsterdam. Many of his films are characterized by a preoccupation with changes in time and follow long-term processes.
Born 1965 in Maastricht, Eugenie Jansen graduated from the Netherlands Film and Television Academy in 1991 with her film Koekoekskinderen. She has worked as an assistant director for several feature films and as a documentary filmmaker. Sleeping Rough was her feature debut and won a VPRO Tiger Award at the 2002 International Film Festival Rotterdam.
The cooperation between Albert Elings and Eugenie Jansen started in 1996 with a film about living scarecrows Vogelvrij. Since then, they have worked together on such films as Nonnevotte (1998), A Daily Life (2000) and The Royal Wedding Tapes (2002).