Zwartjes’ masterwork and his most favorite film. “Living has an uneasy, indefinable atmosphere. This strange swaying of the camera and the music that keeps going on and on…” Living demonstrates the cinematographic mastery of Zwartjes. He is the main character of the film and handles the camera himself, pointing it towards himself with his hand held out. Zwartjes: “I was as strong as a bear in these times.” The film is part of the series ‘Home sweet home’, in which Zwartjes explores the house in The Hague he had just moved into at the time. His wife and muse Trix plays the other role. The two characters move restlessly through the house. The film was made using an extreme wide angle lens (a 5.7), which gives the image a strong sense of estrangement.
Frans Zwartjes (Alkmaar, 1927) is a filmmaker, musician, violin maker, draughtsman, painter and sculptor. In the late sixties he causes a furor with artistic black-and-white films in which heavily made up and over-dressed actors (such as the performance artist Moniek Toebosch) are caught in a web of sexually loaded power games; hysteria, psychosis and cruelty are among his regular themes. The oeuvre of Zwartjes, once called “the most important experimental filmmaker of his time” by the American essayist Susan Sontag, includes over fifty films.
In 1968 Zwartjes was one of the first Dutch visual artists to make use of film: initially as a record of his performances, but quite soon after as an independent medium, perfectly suited to his way of creating visual art. Zwartjes did everything himself: camera, sound, editing and even the developing in the laboratory. He would work with non-professional actors among his friends, and filmed in and around his own house. What he really preferred… read more