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The one who holds a mirror to the society: A retrospective of Bert Haanstra


Bert Haanstra was born in 1916 in Holten in the Netherlands. He became a professional filmmaker in 1947. He received international acclaim for his short documentary film Mirror of Holland, which was awarded the Grand Prix for a short film at the Cannes festival in 1951. Throughout his carrier, Haanstra has won over a hundred film awards.

As a director, he holds a mirror to the society, reflecting also on the material most mirrors are made of – glass in his film of the same name Glass: a short, Oscar-winning film made at glassworks in Leerdam and Schiedam that shows the work of glass blowers. His other films include a fresh and humorous montage entitled ZOO (Haanstra draws striking similarities between humans and animals).

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Films for the event

The Human Dutch0

The Human Dutch

Alleman (Orig.) / 1963 / Netherlands / 90 min

A portrait of The Netherlands and the Dutch. With the aid of a hidden camera Haanstra observes people in the most diverse situations and shows the unusual in the usual and reverse.


Mirror of Holland0

Mirror of Holland

Spiegel van Holland (Orig.) / 1950 / Netherlands / 9 min

Bert Haanstra in this short film gives his vision - from the water – of a tranquil Holland.


The Zoo0

The Zoo

Zoo (Orig.) / 1962 / Netherlands / 11 min

A perfect, fast and hilarious montage. Using images from Amsterdam Zoo, Bert Haanstra shows that a couple of similarities can be discovered between man and animal.




Glas (Orig.) / 1958 / Netherlands / 11 min

This short, Oscar award-winning, film was shot in the glass factories of Leerdam and Schiedam and demonstrates how glass blowers do their work.


Rembrandt, Painter of Man0

Rembrandt, Painter of Man

Rembrandt, schilder van de mens (Orig.) / 1957 / Netherlands / 20 min

In Rembrandt, Haanstra shows that it is possible to make a fascinating film, only with images from paintings.





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