I, Joost van der Wiel, was born on December 4, 1983. On the same day as legendary goalkeeper Jean Marie Pfaff, rapper Jay Z and historian Geert Mak. A brief exposition of this apparent coincidence.
‘Ik dook in die Linkerhoeke, und die Bal kwamte auch in die Linkerhoeke’
– Jean Marie Pfaff
The late 1980s I mainly spent on the football fields of Liempde, a town in the south of The Netherlands. At that time Jean Marie Pfaff was in his prime and arguably the world’s best goalkeeper. I chose the same position, under the crossbar, at the local club DVG. Without consciously thinking about it at the time, I chose the position of a loner. Overseeing everything and with the responsibility of my own territory. That urge for autonomy has never disappeared. I shun the masses, seek the eccentric, but never stray too far from the herd. My films feature characters who have the same irrepressible urge for freedom.
With that disdain in my membrane
Got on my pimp game
– Jay Z in December 4th
In high school it was hip-hop music that made me insatiably curious about a world radically different from the one I knew. I studied the map of New York night after night. The unknown beckoned. Brooklyn. I had to go there (and had the luxury to do so). On Flatbush Avenue I bought LPs from Shabaam Sahdeeq, Talib Kweli & Mos Def. I continued to stare at mysterious places on maps. And then I ventured out. To Russia, Mauritania, Colombia, Tunisia, Rwanda and Moddergat, Friesland.
The cricket that just danced and sang all summer while the ant toiled away its supplies for the winter. It got cold, the cricket got hungry, but the ant refused to help him: he would have had to work.
– Geert Mak
When I enroll at film school I am under the impression that I want to learn how to make fiction films. At the same time Geert Mak’s series ‘In Europe’ is broadcasted. The series reveals major shifts in European history on the basis of seamingly ordinary citizens. It opens my eyes for the beauty of the micro world. The world of astonishing details and budding characters. Tutors point me towards the drop of water in Werner Herzog’s The White Diamond. At a film festival the rhythm of 4 Elements blows me away. I learn I don’t want to invent stories. They are already here.