Directed by: Joost van der Valk, Mags Gavan | 55 minutes | biography, documentary
The phenomenon Geert Wilders, that’s how the PVV politician is described by the makers. The word phenomenon means phenomenon, often preceded in definitions by a further description such as “unique”, “rare” and “special”. For Joost van der Valk and Mags Gavan, “elusive” can also be added. Because in their documentary they have absolutely no grip on Geert Wilders. Not on his personality, his motives, his background and his party. It remains with speculations, guesses, assumptions and these are – unfortunately – quite subjective. If the makers themselves claim that this film is not a political pamphlet and not a moralistic or demonizing statement, then they apparently do not realize that in the choice of the subjects they examine and the commentary via the voice-over they do. take a stand. This in itself does not have to be an obstacle: engagement can be an excellent breeding ground for good art, such as a documentary. But Michael Moore is certainly not, because during Moore’s polemic arguments you as a viewer are at least offered entertainment. Here the whole thing quickly gets bogged down in describing phenomena around Wilders. The viewer learns nothing about the man himself and what is shown is not very fascinating.
This DVD version of “Wilders, the Movie” is about 20 minutes shorter than the 2010 televised version. By cutting all that material away you would think that in that case the core remains. But that’s not true. Because what do you actually learn about Geert Wilders himself? The makers readily traveled to (among others) Israel, the US, London and Berlin, but only speak to people from the periphery. Where did Wilders now originate? How did he grow up with his brothers and sisters in Venlo? Former PVV candidate Geert Tomlow is interviewed about Wilders’ urge to assert this as arising from the rancor of a 10-year-old whose marbles have been taken away. If so, where are Wilders’ schoolmates who can prove this story? Where are classmates, teachers, friends from the past, neighbors, party members of the VVD who want to share memories? Any attempt to interpret the “phenomenon” gets stuck in superficialities. It will be quite frustrating for the filmmakers that – that is much less emphasized in this shorter version – they are not given the opportunity to speak to Wilders themselves. But now it is mainly cutting and pasting of the parliamentary actions of the PVV party chairman.
In an unnecessary compilation at the beginning, there is also a subtle reminder of Wilders’ outspoken predecessors in Islamic criticism Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh. The effect of Fortuyn’s attempts at resuscitation and a photo of Van Gogh’s dead body is not shunned. What was the added value of this now? Or from the remark that Wilders’ security costs the taxpayer about “2 million euros a year”. Do Van der Valke and Gavan mean by this that they think that that is too much money? They do not explain whether and why this amount is worth mentioning. On a very short trip to the 19-year-old Wilders who worked in a kibbutz in Israel, the film is about his political career and from his break with the VVD in 2004. An anthropologist comes by to explain Wilders’ bleached hair from his Indonesian origins through his grandparents, his shame about this and his desire to go through life as a ‘straw-blond Dutchman’. This is in no way documented or substantiated. It is a loose claim by one person, based on loose sand. According to this anthropologist, other “Indos” did the same. Yes, it must be true.
A number of PVV voters are brought in front of the camera who tell why they vote for this party, but the viewer does not get much wiser either. Interesting in itself, to ask individual voters about their party preferences, but what does that say about Wilders himself? Muslims pass by, who indicate that they are afraid, but that gets stuck in rough sketches. If it does not work to fathom Wilders himself, the opportunity is lost here to portray the PVV voter on the one hand and the people who feel threatened by his statements on the other and to respond to their respective dreams, desires, concerns and fears. . One group feels threatened because they think that “Islam” has changed the Netherlands and will continue to change, the other group is simply part of the same Netherlands as a Muslim and feels threatened because they think that the Netherlands has been changed by Wilders and they no longer feel at home there.
About the finances of the PVV it is reported that Wilders receives money from abroad, which could possibly be in violation of his oath on the Constitution that he as Lower House.id has traveled. After all, the members of the House of Representatives vote “without any burden”. But it remains with such remarks. The same applies to the “conspiracy theories” (in the words of Van der Valk) that some people cherish who associate it with positions of the PVV. Here the adage “what you deal with, you get infected with” apparently applies. It is also noted that Wilders has very close ties with the Israeli embassy. The suggestion is that the embassy drafts parliamentary questions for him and that he act on their behalf. It even goes a step further: Wilders may be employed by Israel, perhaps as an agent of the Mossad. That, of course, would be shocking and a major scandal, if true. However, there is no evidence. It is said by a former Mossad agent that the likelihood that the PVV leader has been recruited by the Mossad is “extremely small”. Then why mention this and spend minutes of the documentary on it? And so most of the time is wasted traveling the world, talking to people from the far margins of Wilders, making plans that are not completed anywhere, served with a good dash of gossip and backlash. The whole documentary tells nothing new, but is a kind of summary of the stormy rise of the PVV in recent years. And that is really too thin for someone who has been in the news so much before. Instead of the DVD, it is better to use the book “Geert Wilders, the sorcerer’s apprentice” by Meindert Fennema as a political biography of this Dutch “phenomenon”.