Hi, I’m back home after visiting the film festival in Rotterdam and hanging out in Amsterdam. We drove down there late Monday and came back this morning, here’s what happened.
We arrived some time before noon, at the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel, a place that is famed for being disgusting but it wasn’t actually that bad. The room was acceptable, although there was no place in the bathroom to hang or put anything. The hotel’s bar was pretty cool and there was happy hour between 17.00 and 18.00 so we didn’t complain much.
When we were settled in we left to take a look at Amsterdam, we quickly realized they have a lot of cool cinemas and we ended up ordering tickets for a sneak preview, hoping it was Cloverfield. While waiting for the movie two guys from the school decided to get tattoos (the guy with the "?!" has a Metal Gear Solid tattoo on his shoulder, awesome!).
After eating we moved to the cinema to settle in for the highly anticipated Cloverfield only to realize the movie was Charlie Wilson’s War, a weird, political film with Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman, about the war in Afghanistan. It was rather crappy and Dutch people have no fucking cinema etiquette. People just wouldn’t shut up. After the movie we got drunk.
We got up a little late, but since we were free to do whatever we wanted that didn’t matter much. We started the day off by walking to the Photography Museum Foam, and that was very interesting. The first part of the gallery was beautiful photos that didn’t really make sense until you read the description, e.g. a container to cryogenically freeze people, a playboy magazine for blind people, the only legal marijuana farm in the US (government-controlled of course), nuclear waste shining blue in the dark, and an extremely detailed photo of the Death Star II model (the one that’s not completed). The second part of the gallery contained photographs by the famous photographer Weegee. He usually took photos from New York crime scenes in the forties, and they are really stunning. There was also a photo of Stanley Kubrick, on the set of Dr. Strangelove (left).
In the evening we went drinking again, at a cool bar that had the Blues Bros. on the facade (right), and then we went on to the Red Light District. Of course I knew about the district, the famous site of hookers and drug dealers, but still, seeing young girls in lingerie, in almost every window, waving at you, was so surreal. And so sad.
The first day of the film festival, we got to Rotterdam around 11.00, and quickly realized how incredibly boring the center of that town is. The first movie I watched was Bootleg Film, a weird Japanese flick about a cop and a yakuza gangster. It was bad. Then I went on to see an Argentinean movie called El Otro, about some guy having a mid-life crisis. That was bad as well. When we drove back to Amsterdam in the evening, we realized that Cloverfield premiered, so, running to the cinema from the bus, me and this guy Mikkel (1st tattoo further up) got two tickets! And it was fucking awesome! A solid action movie, one of the best I’ve seen in a long time, the handheld camera thing worked very well. So, eventually we got to see a great movie that day.
The last day, first I saw a Brazilian movie, Mutum, and I’m sorry to be such an ass here, but that was god awful as well. Just like El Otro there was no real storyline, no real conflict for the main character, it was very dull. But then we settled in for the European premiere of Juno, a movie that was just recently nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Picture category, and it actually lived up to he hype. It was hard not to enjoy it, and it reminded me a little about Garden State. The last thing I did before we went home was buying a 6 GB USB Stick for 30€ (~225 DKK), a pretty good bargain. (The mall also had a huge TV, left)
Over all it was a nice trip, although the film festival isn’t really starting until next week (No Country for Old Men, I’m Not There, The Darjeeling Limited, Q&A with the Coen Bros. etc.) so that kind of sucks. Also, one of our bus drivers was a frickin’ asshole, not wanting to turn off the light in the bus because of "safety issues" (although he suddenly did several hours later), not turning up the heat, whining when we wanted to take a piss and stretch our legs when we had breaks (yeah, he wanted us to stay in the bus) and on the trip home he complained that he had to stay in line behind some of us at a gas station. The other bus driver was cool. Also, Dutch is fucked up.