De weg naar het zuiden (The Way South)

Johan van der Keuken

The account of a journey starting in Amsterdam on 30 April 1980 – the coronation of a new queen, the occupation of an office building, a clash with the establishment – and ending up in Egypt via Paris, southern France, the Alps, Rome and Calabria. A “road movie”, says Johan Van der Keuken, “except that the road surface has mostly been rolled up by the wheels of a car or a plane and taken along to the next stop, so that one is moving by fits and starts. Once you are here, then there – and what is between here and there is up to you to fill in: the inner journey, the route you plot out for yourself.” In his characteristic intuitive and engaged style, van der Keuken encounters people trying to make a place for themselves: squatters, travellers from country to city, from South to North. An account of outward emigration and inner alienation, but also of resilience and life’s courage. A journey to the South that gradually makes one feel what it means to lose the North.


It is a story of outer emigration and inner alienation, but also a series of signs of the cour­age to face life. It is the obsession with rooms, streets, places where people try to communicate their lives to other people and fight their battles against the injustice of the world. The film is long, two hours and twenty­five minutes, but it has to be this long to enable me to record the impressions of a dream voyage and to register changes in perception and style. I had in mind the creation of a composition that would be balanced and yet, at the same time, take shape spontaneously. One often walks on the border of arbitrariness: everyone has something to say.


English subtitles
Conservation copy courtesy of EYE