Check out the teaser video above for the forthcoming Dutch feature film about the 1963 Elfstedentocht, De Hel Van '63 (or The Hell of '63). The ice skating marathon tour that year was famous for its brutal weather conditions. Somebody that participated recently noted to me that of the 10,000 participants only about 100 or so made it the entire 200km to the finish, all of whom started in the first wave. (With so many participants on a small canal, the tour starts in waves like many cycling events). The film follows the decision to hold the race, despite the tough weather conditions, and focuses on four participants that include a farmer's son, a soldier, and a nurse, rather than the race leaders or winner that year, Reinier Paping. The clip above concludes with the words: deprivation...willpower...love.
I'm hoping the film gets released with English subtitles in the US to at least play at international film festivals. I'm unsure there is a market (outside of the Netherlands) for what would appear to be a sports-themed film--unlike art house cinema foreign language dramas, sometimes sports films are notorious for being formulaic and I've more than once been disappointed by a movie that I had really anticipated. Or maybe it will be really good and be up for awards on the international film circuit--its hard to tell from the trailer. Watching the teaser video, the marathon skater in me gives the film an Oscar nod for at least cinematography and musical score--I love the melodramatic music in the background of the teaser clip.
In making the film, some of skating scenes were filmed in Finland as well as in the Netherlands. In one video I saw, for shots in the Netherlands with some landmarks in the background (such as by the waterpoort / watergate in Sneek), it appears the filmmakers had put in pontoons on the unfrozen canal to make the ice--sort of an artifical, linear ice rink. Although there was a brief period last winter where the canals were frozen enough to support the filming, I believe the Friesland scenes were shot in the late winter / early spring.
Editor - Jim
This blog weighs in on topics such as long-distance skating, the Illinois canals, cycling, and a variety of related (and occasionally not-so-related) topics. I'd like to correspond with others interested in skating the Hennepin and I&M canals.