Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Best Compliment from Across the Ocean

In December of 2013 I purchased a copy of Ben van Lieshout's The Muse. It was such a remarkable film and I wrote to Ben the next day to thank him for sending out the DVD so stinkin' fast and to tell him how much I enjoyed his movie. His response still sits, saved, in my gmail inbox, because I thought he was so sweet in his reply. Here is what I wrote:


Last night I arrived home late at night to find a little package from The Netherlands in my mail slot. "Hooray!" I said aloud, "It's here!" I shoved the key into the lock of my front door, threw down my bags, tore open the envelope and immediately slid the disc into its player. Then I curled up in my grandparents' old armchair in my tiny apartment with no heat under layer after layer of fuzzy blankets and prepared for
The Muse. I must admit, I was slightly fearful that I had gotten my hopes up a bit too high and that the film might not live up to my expectations. How foolish of me, for I was completely absorbed by it. I watched silently, wide eyed and nearly motionless. I began to feel that I was eavesdropping on the characters' lives. Following at a safe distance as they wandered the streets or walked to work or simply sat in a library.

More often than not, films tend to feature music so heavily and drown out the sounds of reality. Not so in this film. They were all so present - the passing of cars, the birds in the sky, the crunching of snow underfoot, and the soles of a man's shoes as they tap out the rhythm of his steps as though they were an invisible metronome. Ben, I just absolutely adored your film. Every frame was perfect and flawless. What a wonderful feeling of accomplishment it must be to create truly great art. Well done, sir.

Thank you so much for getting the film to me so quickly. I hope you and your family have a fabulous New Year and that 2014 is filled with nothing but extraordinary good health and crazy amounts of joy and happiness. Take care!


And six days later, here is Ben's reply:


Thank you so much for your kind words and enthusiastic comment on The Muze. I can see you love to write and you are good at it.
And nice that you appriciate the precise work regarding image and sound and above all the dedication with which the film was made.

Matthias role in the Muze was for the director of Bullhead (Rundskop) the confirmation of his intention to cast him for the main part.
The Muse brought me to some interesting festivals in Sao Paulo, Capetown, Kolkata and Sarajevo.

I wish you all the best and a magnificent 2014

warm regards Ben

I so rarely receive compliments, and reading I can see you love to write and you are good at it. left me beyond the realm of overjoyed. I am forever insecure and especially insecure about my writing and it was just nice to hear someone say something so unexpected. Thanks, Ben - you're awesome in every way possible! And The Muse is still my favourite of all of Matthias Schoenaerts' films. (Shhh...don't tell Rudolf.)

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