In the big cinema documentary The Human Dutch, Bert Haanstra paints a portrait of The Netherlands and the Dutch, in his own unparalleled manner. Partly with the aid of a hidden camera he observes people in the most diverse situations. He shows the unusual in the usual and the usual in the unusual. The harsh years of the post war era of reconstruction have passed and for most people life is better than before. The Human Dutch shows a certain contentment. Haanstra sees a world where positivism prevails. Of course people also have their shortcomings and their peculiarities, but there isn’t much wrath in the director’s fellow-countrymen. The scene of the little boy on wooden skates who keeps on falling down, and after much practice manages to stay briefly upright, became a favourite with the audience. Another scene that produced lots of enthusiasm was the one with a winking Queen Juliana. The images of the extremely chaste Dutch on the beach at Scheveningen
make it clear that quite a bit has changed since then. And a lot of the audience at the time wanted to know if it was still ‘on’ between the sweethearts who were being spied on whilst arguing on a bench in the Oosterpark in Amsterdam. No, it was over. Simon Carmiggelt wrote and narrated The Human Dutch. His view on humanity was similar to Haanstra’s, and the public could relate to their vision: 1.6 million Dutch went to see this in the cinema. The film was awarded a Golden Bear in Berlin and in Los Angeles it received an Oscar nomination.
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