Gerlach van Beinum is one of the last old-school crop farmers in the Netherlands. Surrounded by the advancing exponents of modernity—distribution centers, highways, multinationals – he moves through the seasons at his own pace. We follow him for several years in his fields on the outskirts of Amsterdam.
With the help of his best friend Rinus, he grows potatoes, beetroot, grain, and strawberries, which he sells from his barn. In between these activities, his farmhouse proves to be a gathering spot for neighbors and friends, who share with him their dry wit and simple joy.
Meanwhile, the outside world imposes itself more and more blatantly, in the form of money-hungry entrepreneurs, the municipal government, aircraft noise, the neighboring McDonald’s and a failed harvest due to climate change. But Gerlach doggedly continues: with the help of his brothers, he conducts lawsuits—with occasional success—and sows new crops.
Aliona van der Horst and Luuk Bouwman portray the unflappable, stooped-over farmer with the same dedication and love with which he works his land, sometimes in close-up, sometimes in beautifully composed shots of the shadow he casts on his beloved field.
The screening is followed by an in-depth conversation with Aliona, Luuk and Gerlach himself about the possibility of conducting the “green transition” in a just way.
About the speakers
Aliona van der Horst is a Russian born Dutch documentary auteur whose oeuvre consists of a wide variety of films with an outspoken filmic style. Her most recent film Turn your body to the sun, deals with history and memory through the story of a daughter searching for her father’s past and is hailed for its artistic use of archival footage. Her films revolve around the question of how ordinary people’s lives are shaped by big historical events. Retrospectives of her work were held in Barcelona, Kiev and Belgrade. She is one of the founders of the collectively owned Dutch film production company DOCMAKERS.
Luuk Bouwman is a Dutch filmmaker and musician. He studied film at the St. Joost art academy in Breda. In 2002, Luuk started Tropisms.org an online video diary to which he uploaded short films while traveling. The site is seen as one of the first vlogs. His documentary ‘The New West’ was nominated for the Prix Europa. ‘Dick Verdult – It Is True But Not Here’ was nominated for the Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award and received the prize for Best Documentary during the DocFeed Festival. As a musician he played in Aux Raus, a techno-punk band that he formed together with Bastiaan Bosma.