Scen.: Peet Gelderblom. Mus.: Pieter Straatman, Kettel, Man After Midnight. Prod.: Nienke Korthof, Willem Baptist con Frank Roumen, Leenke Ripmeester per Tangerine Tree in collaborazione con EYE Filmmuseum. DCP. Col.
Archival footage is usually deployed to document the past: to create a time capsule of what once was and is no more. That traditional approach is perfectly legitimate, but the vast creative possibilities that film archives offer are rarely explored in full.
For this particular project I was not interested in what Werner Herzog has called “the truth of accountants”. I don’t see these largely forgotten moving pictures as ancient relics, but as living things. In a recycled context, pieces of old film have the power to open closed doors of perception. Their expressiveness is timeless and sometimes painfully relevant. The root of problems we face today is often clearly visible in yesterday’s cinema, even when it wasn’t at the time.
The tools of the digital age allow filmmakers such as myself to clash perspectives, combine wildly different sources in unexpected ways and overlay a contemporary point of view. When these antiquated images are used as building blocks for archival fiction or other experiments, they offer a vintage lens through which one can see the present more clearly.
In the age of sampling and recycling, it’s only logical to consider the potential of a circular cinema: a second chance for orphaned reels of film to find a new home. When Forever Dies is my attempt to take this concept as far as I can, but I never expected the end product to feel so deeply personal.
I dived into the archives, and the archives also dived into me. I chose to work only with images that really spoke to me, and much to my surprise, the images I found demanded a discussion. What started out as my ode to cinema became a manifestation of all I hold dear and fear of losing, as alluring as it is distressing.