a documentary by Annette Apon 
produced by SNG Film / Studio Nieuwe Gronden

Henriette Roland Holst (1869-1952) met with Lenin and Trotsky, and corresponded with Rosa Luxemburg.
Her letters, poems and speeches give an insight into her deepest dilemmas; old images lead us into those turbulent years.




In the period 1891-1927, Henriette Roland Holst goes through a dramatic development. As an aspiring poet from an affluent bourgeois milieu she throws herself, full with idealism and conviction, into the labour movement. Within the various socialistic parties however, a fierce battle on direction takes place, wherein Henriette has trouble finding her place. After returning disillussioned from a trip to the Soviet Union, she does not feel at home in any leftist party. Later she will recollect on this period in her biography "Het vuur brandde voort" (translation: "The fire rages on").

The film reconstructs this period with the use of old film material combined with texts by Henriette Roland Holst herself: fragments from letters, poems, speeches and books, sparingly supplemented with personal commentary by the filmmaker. Film material where Henriette is visible is not available from this period. Nevertheless, beautiful material exists that gives a diverse and unknown depiction of these times. Contrary to what most people think in most cases it is not black/white: some images are exquisitely coloured in. Besides that are recent images of the Buissche Heide, the place where Henriette Roland Holst resided in the summer and received guests both domestic and foreign.

On November 21 2012, it will be 60 years since the passing of Henriette Roland Holst.

screenplay & direction: Annette Apon
camera: Peter Brugman, and many -mostly unknown- cameramen who were active in the beginning of the 20th Century.
editing: Jan Ketelaars
editing assistant: Julian Willemsen
sound design: Klink / Paul Gies
image post-production: Loods, Lux en Lumen
producer: Digna Sinke

year: 2012
length: 74 min.

the film is financially supported by:
Netherlands Film Fund
EYE Filminstituut
Omroep Brabant
Lira Fonds
Van Gogh-huis Zundert
Abraham Tuschinski fonds

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press photos:


Henriette speaks,                   portrait by Michel de Klerk                  on the Buissche Heide,                               Henriette Roland Holst
presumably 1907                   1921                                                  Herman Gorter, Wies Gorter,                      
                                                                                                     Richard Roland Holst, Henriette RH
                                                                                                     and her mother

  the Buissche Heide, photo: Annette Apon