Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Nema aviona za Zagreb

2012
1h 22m
Biography
Advertisement

Cast

Meher Baba (Self)Timothy Leary (Self)Louis van Gasteren (Self)

Director

Louis van Gasteren

Advertisement

Synopsis

It is 2012 and a very old Louis van Gasteren is reviewing an earlier phase in his life in a video editing suite. In the movie he is watching, a 42 year old Louis stands watching garbage cans loaded into a truck in 1964. The older Louis reflects upon his own image as a young man, "At the age of 90, it's strange to look back at myself then. I see myself, knowing what has happened to me since, Yes, it's me but then again it isn't." We leave the old man and pick up the story as it unfolds beginning in 1964 in Amsterdam, when as a young man Louis began to film his feelings and experiences in a full length feature film. We see him and his family at a carnival, shot in gaudy color, a different time, before the 60s really happened, feeling almost like the 19th century. We hear a player piano. Louis is with his two young children from his first marriage, Louis and Dominique, and his second wife Jacqueline and their newly born daughter Mardou. They are watching a fat mother and daughter on a carnival stage, who together, we learn from a sign, weigh 900 pounds. The carnival barker explains that the fat women are very rare and gives their exact dimensions as they sit pleasantly in seats for the audience. The family then rides the carousel as Louis in voice over introduces each of them and himself to the viewer. In voice over Louis explains that he is living the "illusion" of a lasting family life. The film then regresses into Louis' past, as he explains through photos and archival footage that a few years earlier his parents had died, his mother three months after his father by taking her own life. His father had been a famous stage actor, Louis van Gasteren Sr., his mother a singer and communist who had quit the concert stage to travel through rural Spain, learning Spanish ballads from the peasants. Haunted by his mother's death, Louis plays for a colleague a recording he has of his mother singing in Spanish. He picks up a post card from her in Spain and explains she would describe not the temperature and food of a foreign country like most people, but the feel of a place like a hot Spanish harbor. Driving through the landscape of his childhood with his wife, he points out to her the sites he would visit as a boy when his family lived in the Hague, such as riding on the back of his father's bicycle and the things his father would observe. We see a shadow of a boy and a man on a bicycle seemingly following alongside Louis' and his wife's car as they drive down the country road. He says he thinks about his parents all the time. The film ceases to look backward in time, and it comes to present day 1964 in a series of scenes in which Louis plays himself, along with actors, enacting a life of bourgeois meaninglessness. He plays himself as a man with no true interests besides indulging in pleasures. He catches the eye of an attractive woman in an airport in Zurich, and by editing alludes that he begins an affair with her. Cutting to his wife at home feeding their one year old child, we see that he has no spiritual direction or real scruples. Louis is then called to a meeting in a house in England, where a very respectable man who has brought along his elderly and apparently wealthy mother, informs him that he is the husband of the woman and that he has discovered the affair. Louis remains polite but quiet, obviously uncomfortable, as the man and his mother explain that they have called him to make him an offer of 5000 guineas to admit to having been with the man's wife, as the wife is "quite mad" and this will allow him to get a divorce. The husband explains to Louis that he will be 'helping them out' to admit to the affair, but Louis tensely folds his hands and forfeits the bribe, saying with mock dignity he cannot help them and is "terribly sorry." Louis is now walking in Belgrade with a man much like himself. He explains that at a film festival in Yugoslavia he ran into an Italian journalist, Luigi de Santis, and the two began to hang

Advertisement

Advertisement