And that man I am myself, Jan Hanlo
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And that man I am myself, Jan Hanlo


Jan Hanlo, and that man I am myself is an impressionistic documentary by BarBara Hanlo about her great-uncle JAN HANLO, a famous Dutch writer and poet in the fifties who died in 1969.

The film seeks to find a subjective entrance to the world of the poet. Guided in the soundtrack by prose and poems of the poet himself, the image retraces places and scenes from his life as if we – the audience – share his experiences.

Jan Hanlo had an incredible eye for detail and he investigated questions nobody would investigate: is a pea as big as a football still a pea? He was the first human being to find out, that wasps can clean your house... Besides this there were his collapses with the world of imperatives – religion, the law, he spent some time in a mental institution – and his longing for the detachment of the absolute youth. The film ends with his stay in Marrakech where to his own surprise he finds a relative freedom within the walls of the city. It is there that he falls in love with a young boy.

language: Dutch/English subtitled
running time: 45 min.
premiere: Dutch Filmfestival Utrecht 1991
director: BarBara Hanlo
scenario: BarBara Hanlo en Mark Fekkes
production: Kalahari Film
sales: PEP / Eye Film Institute
camera: Brigit Hillenius
editor: Jan Wouter van Reijen
sound: Bert van den Dungen
festivals and screenings: Dutch Film Festival Utrecht 1991 / IDFA Amsterdam 1991 / International Film Festival Rotterdam 1992 Broadcast RVU 1993 / Broadcast Kunstkanaal 1996 / Broadcast Cultura 2009

Documentaries: art about art

BarBara Hanlo did not make poetry film about her uncle, the poet Jan Hanlo, but film poetry. Her film Jan Hanlo, and that man I am, consists largely of staged images. Nevertheless, the film is a fully-fledged documentary, because those images are echoes of Jan Hanlo's poetry, his letters, his notes, in short of his use of language and thus of Jan Hanlo's tormented self. Jan Hanlo defined poetry as "the holiday of philosophy" and that is exactly what BarBara Hanlo made with this film: holiday of the documentary.

Joyce Roodnat, NRC 12/7/1991