It's been a lovely day
It's Been a Lovely Day is a portrait of a traditional Dutch farmer's family, made by their son. The documentary focuses on the last year of the parents' work on the farm that has been passed on from one generation to the next for more than a century. Now, they will retire without a successor.
The film observes, without any explanatory comment, but in an outspoken cinematographic style, a traditional way of life that is disappearing throughout Europe. The film begins at 6 a.m. on January 1st, 1992, and ends in a foggy and lonely landscape twelve months later. In between, it shows the last harvest, the now anachronistic choreography of an old farmer on his land, the typical slow conversations about the weather, and the silent acceptance of changing times.
"A riveting study in the purest documentary tradition" is how Variety described de Putter's look at the final year of his own parents' farm, but the film's connection between landscape and art is best described by its opening dedication: "For my father, who made me love the land, and my mother, who made me love the cinema."
Beginning with his father's before-dawn cup of coffee on January 1, 1992, de Putter records a calendar year of plantings and harvests, winter snows and autumn lights, quiet conversations, and those moments when the only sound is from the wind, the only movement from the clouds above, or the harvests below.
It's Been a Lovely Day is a portrait of a fading way of life, but another feature is those famous Dutch rays of light, with farmers in dawn's near-darkness, or trees swaying in summer breezes, as painterly as any Rembrandt or Van Gogh.
City of Utrecht Prize, 1993 (best debut of the year)
Chosen as best Dutch film of the year by readers of the Volkskrant and association of Dutch Film critics, 1994 .Chosen as one of the 16 best Dutch films in film history, part of official Dutch Film Heritage, 2007
a.o. IFFRotterdam, New York MOMA, Cinéma du Réel Paris, Göteborg, Los Angeles, Sydney, Johannesburg, Teheran, National Art Gallery Washington, San Francisco, Pacific Film Archive Berkeley, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Shanghai, Sao Paulo.
Written & Directed by Jos de Putter
Director of photography: Stef Tijdink; Melle van Essen
Edited by Nathalie Alonso; Riekje Ziengs
Sound recording: Martijn van Haalen; Paul Veld
Sound design: Jan van Sandwijk
2nd camera: Ton Peters; Wiro Felix
Post production: Puck Goossen
Produced by Riekje Ziengs / Jos de Putter
Copyright 1993 Dieptescherpte / IKON
A way to B
See no evil
Solo; out of a dream
Beyond the game
How many roads
Alias Kurban Saïd
Dans, Grozny dans
The making of a new empire
Solo; the law of the Favela
Het is een schone dag geweest
I.M: Alexander Litvinenko
Before the flood
Nor his donkey