Gerlach van Beinum is one of the last old-school crop farmers near Amsterdam. Surrounded by the advancing exponents of modernity—distribution centers, highways, multinationals—he moves through the seasons at his own pace. We follow him for several years in his fields on the outskirts of Amsterdam. With the help of his best friend Rinus, he grows potatoes, beetroot, grain, and strawberries, which he sells from his barn. In between these activities, his farmhouse proves to be a gathering spot for neighbors and friends, who share with him their dry wit and simple joy.
Meanwhile, the outside world imposes itself more and more blatantly, in the form of money-hungry entrepreneurs, the municipal government, aircraft noise, the neighboring McDonald’s and a failed harvest due to climate change. But Gerlach doggedly continues: with the help of his brothers, he conducts lawsuits—with occasional success—and sows new crops.
Aliona van der Horst and Luuk Bouwman portray the unflappable farmer with the same dedication and love with which he works his land, sometimes in close-up, sometimes in beautifully composed shots of the shadow he casts on his beloved field.
Selected for Signed at IDFA 2023