Freedom, vulnerability, and loneliness: filmmaker Roy Seerden selects 9 IDFA films about feelings that the night hours evoke, or feelings that find a home at night. You can watch them all in the IDFA online collection.
Seerden graduated in 2018 from the Dutch Film Academy with At Midnight Plays a Dance Tune. The film screens on April 17 as part of Cinema DS x IDFA at De School, with a Q&A to follow.
Freedom, hallucinatory experiences, and boundaries that fade away
“It's the journey that counts, not the final destination, as proven by the first film I chose, Untitled by Michael Glawogger (2017, 108 min.). As you walk from area to area at a party, Glawogger goes from country to country. He pursues strangers without a specific goal. Beautifully imagined impressions of people and their cultures form a unique experience with the voice-over. This search for ultimate freedom turned out to be not entirely without risks. The director died suddenly during the journey because of the consequences of malaria.”
“Brilliant Noise (Semiconductor, 2006, 6 min.) is made with ultra close-up images of the sun. The image and the compelling sound that coincide with it, as it were, slurped me up and brought me into a trance that reminded me of a hallucinatory drug experience.”
“In Chemsex (William Fairman & Max Gogerty, 2015, 80 min.), which I saw at IDFA in 2015, you see that drug use does not always work out. Using Tina, G, and mephedrone during sex is a trend that’s got out of hand in the London gay scene, where this film offers an intimate look. I see that it is blowing over to Amsterdam and that makes the film super contemporary and also relevant for people outside this scene.”
“For those who do not like daylight”
“In the Basement (Ulrich Seidl, 2014, 81 min.) I dedicate to the man we met while making test shots for At Midnight. In the middle of the night this shy, loud farmer was busy on the street with a huge model plane. Proudly he lifted it up into the air and launched it with a smooth movement, but the plane crashed immediately and within an instant the man was gone. For him (and his plane), I select this film by Ulrich Seidl, which gives us a glimpse into the cellars of people with hobbies who don't like daylight much.”
“In The Birds Are Silent in the Forest (Tim de Keersmaecker, 2007, 18 min.) you see a hunter with an upside down life. At night he works in a warehouse and after a short day's sleep he hides with his hunting gun in the serene, dark, and lonely forest. With dusk as the only daylight, this film is for those who meet here: night owls and early birds.”
“Three Poems by Spoon Jackson (Michel Wenzer, 2003, 14 min.) is a must-see with which I want to end the selection. Jackson, a poet whose small world is bigger than many can imagine, went into prison for life when he was 19 years old. Ironically enough, he discovered here that the world is larger than just himself. Jackson expresses himself in poems that find their way to the outside world through crackling telephone conversations, and with this he finds that outside world, that freedom, in himself.”
Roy also added A Strange Love Affair with Ego, The Ghost of Piramida, and Motodrom to his selection. All are documentaries in which intense emotions and experiences — self-love, melancholy, adrenaline — are central.
Want to see Roy's graduation film At Midnight Plays a Dance Tune on the big screen? Come to Cinema DS x IDFA on April 17! This screening is part of three special film evenings at De School. Book your tickets via De School's website.