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Hollywood aan de schelde (2018)

A semi-autobiography of maverick and eccentric filmmaker Robbe De Hert (1942-2020) and his entourage in his hometown Antwerp, from the 1950's until 2018.


Robbe De Hert
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A semi-autobiography of maverick and eccentric filmmaker Robbe De Hert (1942-2020) and his entourage in his hometown Antwerp, from the 1950's until 2018.

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The director's life-long dream has come true!
25 December 2019 | by CoventrySee all my reviews

Being both a proud Belgian and a film-fanatic, I have been closely following Flemish cinema history for as far back as I can remember. This is approximately 25 years now, and the funny thing is that, for almost just as long as that, I've been hearing and reading that writer/director Robbe De Hert plays with the idea of shooting a large-scaled documentary of the exact same topic. There was always something standing in the way (financial issues, lack of collaboration, health problems, ...) and De Hert noticeably became more frustrated and embittered. But behold; - after all this time he realized his life-long dream, and I'm particularly happy to mention that it became a very complete and utterly professional magnum opus! "Hollywood aan de Schelde" - the title refers to the Belgium's biggest river and the economic heart of the Port of Antwerp - is a meticulously detailed, informative and absorbing documentary that covers Flemish cinema history from its pioneer years (director Jan Vanderheyden and his wife Edith Kiel) up until the nowadays talented generation of directors that have the potential to make it in Hollywood (Michaël Roskam, Felix Van Groeningen, Geoffrey Enthoven, ...). De Hert's film features fascinating interviews, anecdotes and sequences from some of Belgium's greatest cinematic monuments that are sadly almost forgotten already, like "Seagulls Die in the Harbor" or "The Man who had his Hair Cut Short"

Inevitably, of course, the discussions quickly lead into the same direction as they always do in Flanders, namely about money and funding. Writers, directors and actors complain that the government only sponsors film projects if they are based on thick and practically unreadable novels from our forefathers, but nobody is interested in seeing those. Still, since several decades now, there's a good mixture of commercially successful and more artistic genres, and this is largely thanks to the specially created and well-led "Flemish Audio-visual Funding". Flanders isn't exclusively about the dramatic adventures of struggling farmers' families, and "Hollywood aan de Schelde" establishes this once and for all. Well done, Robbe. I have one major point of criticism, though. As usual in this type of documentaries, horror and cult movies are shamelessly ignored, as if they are an embarrassment for cinema. Luckily, Steve De Roover made a special tribute to the Flemish horror heritage with "Forgotten Scares".

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27 December 2018 (Belgium) See more »

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