After torrential downpours during the day, the skies cleared and visitors to Amsterdam’s outdoor film festival Pluk de Nacht (Seize the Night) gathered to watch the opening night screening of La Pivellina under the stars on August 5, 2010.
An Austrian/Italian production, La Pivellina (Tizza Covi, Rainer Frimmel, 2009) is a fictional story told in a gritty documentary style. Patti, an entertainer in a failing circus, finds two-year-old Asia abandoned on a swing. She takes the girl back to the trailer she shares with her knife-throwing husband on the outskirts of Rome and goes in search of her mother.
This account of an abandoned child and a missing mother offers up some touching moments, but the plot predominantly forms the framework for a broader portrait of people living on the fringes of society in modern Italy.
La Pivellina had its world premiere at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, and was selected to open the 2009 Vienna International Film Festival, the first-ever Austrian production to open the event. It has since won numerous best film awards at festivals around the world.
Completely different, in both style and subject matter, is Winnebago Man (Ben Steinbauer, 2009), screening at Pluk de Nacht later in the weekThe Winnebago Man, aka Jack Rebney, was dubbed ‘the angriest man in the world’ after the curse-filled outtakes of his promotional video for the American camper company became a YouTube sensation in 2005.
However, the video was made some two decades ago and before his viral rise to fame, Jack Rebney had already achieved cult status among a small group of people not offended by his almost incessant stream of profanities.
In this documentary, filmmaker Ben Steinbauer goes in search of the Winnebago Man who, he discovers, may be 20 years older but is as cranky as ever. Along the way, he talks to experts about the phenomenon of viral popularity and its effects on the sometimes unwilling celebrities at the centre of the hype.
Film Festival to End with The Unloved
Pluk de Nacht will close on August 15, 2010 with The Unloved (2009), a tale of domestic violence and parental neglect. The directorial debut of British actress Samantha Morton (Sweet and Lowdown; Synecdoche, New York), it is an accomplished but bleak drama. Maybe the campfires and blankets provided at the film festival will help take the edge off this chilly closer.
Pluk de Nacht: Best of the Fest
Now in its seventh year, Pluk de Nacht was established in 2003 by a group of film-loving friends. Frequent visitors to film festivals in their spare time, they discovered that many of the (best) movies screened never made it to Dutch movie theaters.
This was the starting point for Pluk de Nacht, a summer film festival showing a selection of gems never put on general release in the Netherlands, or only previously seen by a limited audience.
Free Film Festival
From the outset, Pluk de Nacht has always been a free film festival. This makes it accessible to all, although it predominantly attracts a younger, Bohemian crowd that comes as much for the side program of debates, art exhibitions and post-screening parties as it does for the movies themselves.
All the feature-length movies in the line-up will be preceded by a short film. The film festival is located Stenen Hoofd, a strip of land next to the IJ, ten minutes walk west of Amsterdam’s Central Station. Screenings begin between 9.30pm and 10pm when the sun has set. The full program, with movie synopses and trailers, can be found on the film festival website.