unnamedIt’s always tempting to introduce yourself with: ‘Please allow me to introduce myself… ’ But that would be running the risk of the audience filling in the rest (‘… I’m a man of wealth and taste/I’ve been around for a long, long year/Stole many a man’s soul to waste… .’ and so on.) Although, wouldn’t that be fitting: telling you I’m going to ‘steal your soul’. Because that’s exactly what I plan to do during one of this years most exciting film festivals in The Netherlands: Corporate Bodies.

Rest assured: the stealing will only for a little while. At the very least I’m going to break in, try to pry into your mind, and see what’s going on. And I promise I’ll give everything back once we’re finished.

My performance is called Gawie Weet Raad, in Dutch. There is no English title. Maybe something like: Gawie Knows Best.

Its modeled tongue in cheek after the infamous Dear Abby newspaper columns. You know, you write to a newspaper, to some fictional person called Abby, to get advice on your love life, or how to brush you dog, or how to murder your neighbour, or preferably not, I would imagine. The idea is that people could ask me for similar advice, only I would back up my answer by cinematic means, that is, I would illustrate how the same question (how to save your marriage, how to keep your husband or wife happy and so on) is answered in a specific film.

So this is what I will be doing at Corporate Bodies: steal your soul for a little while, see what churning in there, and try to link it to the two films that has been selected for this program section. I hope to engage you in this process, in the same way in which cinema engages us to examine our lives and the world we live in, not to try to find ready made answers, but to tackle the problems, take them apart, making them more complicated, and try to see what’s going on.

To try to understand life, to try to find meaning in cinema — that is what Gawie Weet Raad is all about.

I hope to see you all on Saturday, February 13, at Corporate Bodies.