May 15: Man Bites Dog

The canal ride in Amsterdam was a little less intimate than the one in Brugge, and told place on a covered boat, but nonetheless it was a cool view of the city. The canal-side houses are gorgeous, and coming from a city impacted shaped by river commerce it was interested to see a city shaped by canals. Amsterdam makes a lot of sense as a port and I think it’s impacted the culture quite a bit, from the multiculturalism to the legalized taboos.

I got a list of Belgian movie recommendations from Summer before she left and learned that she used to work at the Cannes Film Festival. Tour guides are such interesting people. I’ve included the list here for my own reference and in case anyone else on the trip wants to check it out.

  • Bullhead
  • The Alzheimer Case
  • Alabama Monroe
  • Dikkenek
  • Moscow, Belgium
  • C’est Arrivé Près de Chez Vous
  • Émotifs Anonymes

She also suggested looking at Benoît Poelvoorde’s work. I was kind of surprised with the amount of comedies she suggested. I kind of assumed most foreign films were dramatic, probably because the dramas are what end up in the United States and nominated for Academy Awards. I think I’m going to start with Émotifs Anonymes because I know it’s on Netflix.

After the boat ride, we stood in line for several years at the Anne Frank House. I’ll be honest, it was a really weird experience. It’s such a solemn subject and the museum is designed for that, but the tourist pushing past you and crowding around everything gives the experience a sour note. Maybe we just went on a particularly busy day, but it felt a little like people were treating it like a tourist attraction rather than a monument to an enormous tragedy. I may try going again on a slower day.

And because of the museum, today’s song is Holland, 1945 by Neutral Milk Hotel, also suggested by Chase. The album as a whole works really well as a WWII concept album, although I’ve never listened to it with that in mind in it’s entirety.

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