The Netherlands and water, they are inseparable from one another. Water in its soothing form, as a place of work and pleasure and as a source of threat and misery. Bert Haanstra thought it a great subject for a big cinema documentary and made The Voice of the Water. At the start, while the credits are still running, it is already apparent how remarkable and original he portrays the beauty of the landscape of the Dutch coastline. In the following ninety minutes we see numerous people that live, work and recreate on, by and in the water. Often they are being observed in a gentle humorous way that reminds us of The Human Dutch. Some people prefer to stay far away from all the wetness: the little boy having a swimming lesson, but who doesn’t dare to put his head under water, is forever imprinted on the memory of many of the viewers. A number of people that have a special alliance with the water are heard in full: an eel catcher on the IJssel Lake, a sea fisherman from Zeeland. a rower (in charge of mooring lines) in Rotterdam harbour, the barge skipper who also acts as a captain during the annual ‘skûtsjesilen’ race (Frisian sailing boat), a woman who survived the disastrous flooding of 1953. Where as Anton van Munster had filmed The Human Dutch three years previously in black and white, he filmed The Voice of the Water in colour and in cinemascope format.
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