‘My Very Own Citizen Kane’, Inspired by Godard and Fellini: Frans Weisz’s Adaptation of Remco Campert’s Het gangstermeisje

Peter Verstraten


No Dutch filmmaker in the 1960s explored the connections between cinema and an artistic undercurrent in art and literature as distinctly as Frans Weisz. This is, first of all, proved by a prize-winning short commission film about authors in search of a reader, which premiered at the Book Ball in 1965. Secondly, his choice to collaborate with poet-novelist Remco Campert, which led to the novel Het gangstermeisje (1966), is an attempt to adopt the mentality of the artistic avant-garde from the 1950s into Dutch cinema. This novel, written by a cinephile, takes cinema as an art form seriously. In turn, Weisz’s debut feature gives evidence of an overriding ambition, which manifests itself in a hodgepodge of several high-art influences. Het gangstermeisje shares its deliberate narrative impasses with Jean-Luc Godard’s Le mépris and Federico Fellini’s Otto e mezzo, while stylistically inspired by Godard’s À bout de souffle. The history of Dutch cinema illustrates, however, that fiction film could only prosper commercially once the internationally oriented directors of the 1960s, like Weisz, sacrificed their artistic aspirations for ‘national cinema’ as a model in the early 1970s.


Dutch art cinema / Nederlandse art cinema – film and literature / film en literatuur – Frans Weisz – Het gangstermeisje – Remco Campert – Federico Fellini – Jean-Luc Godard

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