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HOLDING SPACE

THE NEW RIJKSMUSEUM / HET NIEUWE RIJKSMUSEUM By Oeke Hoogendijk Sat 7 Oct | 7.30pm By invitation only

Sun 22 Oct | 4.30pm Netherlands | Dutch, English and French with English subtitles | 2013 | 130 min | PG

THE NGEE ANN KONGSI AUDITORIUM

OPENING FILM

SOUTHEAST ASIAN PREMIERE

8

The Rijksmuseum, home to the finest collection of works by Dutch masters like Rembrandt, Hals and Vermeer, closed for a major renovation in 2003. But what was supposed to take five years spiralled into a decade, incurring mounting costs and controversy for the state-funded public institution. In this documentary, director Hoogendijk observes the fascinating, complex and sometimes absurd process experienced by all involved, from the museum’s curators, architects and conservators to its arts administrators, building superintendents and government bureaucrats, as they undertake the restoration of one of the most beloved arts institutions in the world.

We are introduced to the challenges of the monumental project almost immediately: crippling protests from the powerful Cyclists’ Union over the winning design entry for the entrance, tender bids exceeding budget, Parliament’s refusal to increase funding, losing a pivotal work at an auction, intense disagreements with exhibition designers, and the sudden resignation of a museum director. But greater still is the sincere love revealed for the museum and its purpose, rendering the struggle sublime. For Menno Fitski, Principal Curator of the Asian Pavilion, this comes close to obsession. Several scenes offer glimpses into his emotional state as

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