Svetlana and Zoran Popovic, directors of the Magnificent7 Festival in Belgrade presents ”The New Rijksmuseum” that will be screened January 30 as the opening film of the festival. The text also includes words from the director:
In 2003, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the most important museum in all of the Netherlands, closed for a major renovation. The plan was to reopen in 2008, but what was to take five years took 10, with a budget that just kept on growing. Filmmaker Oeke Hoogendijk was able to follow this exciting, difficult and sometimes painfully funny process with the camera from behind closed museum doors. In beautiful images supported by powerful music, she captured the building as it was stripped to a bleak carcass, and as it gradually retrieved the old grandeur of yesteryear.
We watch from up close as various curators prepare the layout of their new rooms with tremendous passion and dedication. We follow the caretaker, who looks at the building as if it were his child and protects it against intruders, and the architects who constantly have to adjust their designs. And we follow the museum directors who must deal with financial setbacks, bureaucracy and squabbles – not to mention the activist cyclists. In the end, 400 hours of material was edited down to a single film that takes the viewer to the apotheosis: the reopening in 2013.
This exiting epic documentary took the award for Best Dutch Documentary in 2014 at the IDFA in Amsterdam, after the premiere at festivals and cinemas in USA. In the beginning of December it went in theatres across the Netherlands.
Director’s Word: What should have been a movie about the pride of Holland turned into nothing short of a Shakespearian drama, with failing project managers, cornered ministers and officials, quibbling contractors and foreign contract parties who were appalled to see how the slow decision-making process frustrated the renovations and eventually brought them to a complete halt. It was as if a great weight was pulling the project down and no progress could be made. In 2008, when the management announced that the museum would be closed for another five years, I too realized that I was to spend another five years behind the walls of the Rijksmuseum and witness five more fascinating years of struggle.
The Netherlands 2014, 130 mins.