My Amsterdam (nog een keer) 1983 – 2011
Duration: 11:55 min
In 1983, the Amsterdam-based photographer Ed van der Elsken (1925-1990) made a beautiful documentary of Amsterdam in the heyday of its liberal and free-loving spirit. The film, entirely shot on the street, shows the world of drug pushers and hippies and bon vivants among regular Amsterdam inhabitants. Van der Elsken switched back and forth between the people and long shots of himself passing through the city (at an accelerated speed), commenting on the locations along the way. Soon after the film was made, gentrification of the city started to change the image of Amsterdam for ever, transforming it into a neatly renovated tourist destination, and much of the extreme freedom for which Amsterdam had been known since the 1960s evaporated – no more sleeping in the Vondelpark, for example.
In 2011, Jan Rothuizen took sections of the film and reshot Van der Elsken’s entire route through the city. The result was a very compelling diptych, in which a clear comparison can be made between this demise in freedom of spirit and the gentrification that has taken place.
Text by Siebe Tettero for the exhibition ‘Chambre de Canaux’ Amsterdam 2013
Stijn van Santen
Met dank aan:
Ed van Elsken
Camalot Audiovisual Facilities
Pakhuis de Zwijger