A distant journey close to home: that’s the best way to describe the award-winning Amsterdam Global Village. For this epic portrait of his home city, director Johan van der Keuken took his inspiration from the 180 different nationalities who make Amsterdam their home.
In characteristic style, he strings together a disparate assortment of stories, with lots of detours along the way—from a Ghanaian funeral to dancing at the Roxy club, and from a traditional fishmonger in the Jordaan district to the living room of a Chechen refugee. Our tour guide on this journey of discovery is Khalid, a courier crisscrossing the city on a moped, carrying film rolls and prints.
Amsterdam Global Village was released in 1996, four years before the publication of political scientist Paul Scheffer’s influential essay “The multicultural drama,” after which the tone of the immigration debate in the Netherlands became much more acute. Van der Keuken doesn’t have a rose-colored view of this variegated city; instead he presents it as he saw it in that period, as a village where the whole world comes together.