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Review: Twente on Film – Zo doo wiejleu dat (2022)

Twente on Film – Zo doo wiejleu dat (2022)

Directed by: Erik Willems | 91 minutes | documentary

Twente, a region in the east of the Netherlands, includes villages and towns such as Almelo, Borne, Enschede, Haaksbergen, Hengelo, Holten, Losser, Oldenzaal, Ootmarsum, Rijssen, Tubbergen and Wierden. The region has a turbulent history, with rich industry, special events, great sporting achievements and (natural) disasters. A history that until recently was not bundled on film. There is an opportunity there, thought filmmaker Erik Willems, who started the project ‘Twente op film’ together with actress and co-producer Johanna ter Steege and executive producer André Oude Weernink. In addition to already available images, for example from the Polygoon news, the archives of Overijssel Collection, Eye Amsterdam, Van Gewest tot Gewest and the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, the trio was also able to draw on other sources, such as private collections of foundations and families. After a call in the media, the compilers were given much more material, which was enthusiastically handed over by private individuals, who in some cases were no longer even aware of what was in the films that were dusting in the corners of attics. used to be. That resulted in a lot of research, images had to be interpreted and assessed for suitability, a lot of research had to be done. However, all that work was not in vain, it resulted in a beautiful documentary ‘Twente op film – Zo doo wiejleu dat’.

‘Twente on film – Zo doo wiejleu dat’ provides an almost complete chronological overview of a region in development, during a century: from 1915 to 2015. After images of the opening of Twente Airport in 1931 and a few short overview shots of striking cities and villages, we make a jump back to the funeral of textile manufacturer Gerrit Jan van Heek in the center of Enschede in 1915. It was ‘black with people’, because ‘he was a big one’, as the voice-over (Johanna ter Steege himself) in unadulterated flat Twente knowledge. Don’t worry if you’re not a Tukker or haven’t quite mastered the dialect, the film is subtitled.

The documentary provides a lot of information, but the images are cut in such a way that the viewer does not lose their attention. It is fascinating to see what the “Easter Fair” in the Enschede Volkspark looked like in the 1920s. The images from the industry also show that Twente has always played an important role in the growth of the Dutch economy. Uses such as midwinter horn blowing, Easter fires and klootschieten are also included, but we also see the impact of the construction of the Twente Canal and the Second World War.

Fortunately, certain customs are already obsolete, which has a comic effect. For example, the explanation of the moral rules in the Waveslagbad in Boekelo gives a wide smile. When seeing the images of the municipal laundromat in Rijssen, where people could do their laundry for 1 guilder a year (everything was washed in the communal river and then laid to dry and bleached on the municipal grounds), the younger generations will probably think twice. shaking in disbelief.

And yet in some cases history seems to repeat itself. The arrival of guest workers in Twente also made discrimination more and more common. This is first discussed in this documentary in Oldenzaal, where a group of Italians are denied access to a nightlife. And a little later we also see how Turkish immigrants are viewed (including the terribly wrong opinion, which was perhaps common at the time, that if a girl is harassed, she must have asked for it) and how a cafe owner will lump all Ambonese together. And farmers – at the time of the release of this film all the time in the news – were already protesting in the 1970s.

‘Twente op film – Zo doo wiejleu dat’ is a beautiful compilation full of nostalgic and sometimes poignant images (such as the fireworks disaster, which is not remembered for very long, and the crash of the F16 in Hengelo). Definitely recommended for Tukkers, but actually the film is suitable for anyone interested in (Dutch) history.

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