Cities exist by the grace of antipoles. They are big melting pots in which different cultural expressions exist side by side. In some circumstances they touch each other, just for tiny moment. But most of the time, they reside in closed cocoons. In those places the contrast can’t be bigger, and this produces the most funny and surreal experiences.
The IDFA box office in Rembrandt Square is such a place. Located in an imitation Austrian ski lodge, it has claimed for itself a part in a winter wonderland spectacle. Amongst the ice skating, glühwein, bratwurst and Dutch schlager music, the festival has stationed itself in the heart of modern leisure consumption. Imagine yourself watching an uncomfortable documentary on Abu Ghraib one moment, and then passing by an après-ski hut where the stereo is tuned on "Que sera, sera, whatever will, will be…" It seems incompatible, but for me - as an IDFA participant – it’s a daily reality.
Yesterday, it even got crazier. Next to the Christmas fantasy land – on the other side of the street – approximately two hundred football fans of the local premier league club FC Ajax physically prepared themselves for the upcoming match against Real Madrid. On almost each corner of the street special police squads kept an eye on the noisy football lovers. Just for one moment, a feeling of ‘lost in reality’ captured my mental state. Did some of my docu-realities come to life? Or was I still in the movie?
You could ask yourself why a highly-acclaimed international film festival chose to base itself in such a place. The answer is probably very easy: it’s in the middle of everything, and at walking distance from all the big theatres. Yet there could also be another reason. The IDFA could be nurturing a quiet hope of seducing one of the Christmas leisure consumers or football quarrellers to step into the arena of film. To let them – for just a small moment – experience the reality of others. Maybe.
Anyhow, like the IDFA slogan of this year says: "You can’t script reality".