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Film Review: A Man and a Camera
by Becky Tan

Guido Hendrikx, the Netherlands 2021

An “invisible” man, whom we never see or hear, roams throughout Holland, filming videos of individual strangers mowing their lawns, spraying water on their terraces, working in their gardens. They observe him critically. Is he penetrating their personal space? Since this seemed a bit like stalking, he then begins to ring doorbells. Thus, the person being filmed could choose to stop the action by disappearing back inside. The interviewee would be in charge. Doors were opened by children, single men and women, senior citizens, couples. Timing seemed to determine who was at home; often he rang the bell at early breakfast time. Most residents peered around the camera, probably wondering if this was some project they should have been informed about. Many slammed the doors shut within seconds. One tells him that the neighborhood is aware of his action and the police have been called. Strangely, older couples begin to let him into their houses, where he continues to film. One couple even leaves him alone in the house. They talk with him, but never receive any answers or comments. Naturally, the man behind the camera is director Guido Hendrikx. He said that he filmed for seven years, ringing 400 doorbells, wishing to capture normal life, always using the camera as a shield, something to hide behind. We listen to the song “Going Home” by Leonard Cohen. Participants in the film were later revisited in order to confirm permission to appear in the final film. Hendrikx said, “This is an ode to the patient, trusting people who deserve our adulation. They are there.” My audience laughed throughout the whole 65 minutes. This was an extremely original idea, successfully presented.