Mother Dao, the Turtlelike
Vincent Monnikendam calls his archive film “a kinematographic image of the Dutch-Indies 1912 – c. 1933” in the subtitle, echoing the ponderous bureaucratic language of the Dutch authorities who at the time commissioned the footage he re-edited. He condensed some 280,000 metres of nitrate film, shot by professionals but left largely uncut, into a compilation about indigenous people and their immigrant rulers in the former colony. The originally silent footage begins to speak – not in an explanatory voiceover, but in the songs and stories of the colonized. The images are unchanged. But they have to be read in a new way.