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Essays

Caroline van Dommelen

Förster, Annette

Caroline van Dommelen directed three fiction films, two of which were co-directed with Léon Boedels, between 1911 and 1912 for the production company Film-Fabriek F.A. Nöggerath in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She was the first woman in the Netherlands to direct films, and was succeeded in this in 1924 by the only other female filmmaker in Dutch silent cinema, Adriënne Solser. According to Geoffrey Donaldson, van Dommelen’s name as the director appeared in the advertisements of all three films (1972, 33). In her reminiscences, a first, five-part, series of which were published in the magazine Het Leven in 1921 and another, four-part, series in the film paper De Rolprent in 1925, she says that she wrote one of the screenplays, acted the female leads and directed the actors while she charged a co-director with supervising the mass scenes (1925, 188; 236). For one film, Vrouwenoogen/Women’s Eyes (1912), she was the sole director. She furthermore acted, between 1911 and 1920, in ten films, in eight of which she took leading roles. Together, these add up to more than 11,000 meters or roughly 33,000 feet of nitrate film of which a mere 368 meters or about 1,000 ft. have been preserved, yet only as fragments of Oorlog en vrede 1914 and Oorlog en vrede 1918 (both 1918), two later films in which she played minor roles. No prints of the films van Dommelen directed survive today.

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Academic Units
Film
Libraries
Series
Women Film Pioneers Project
Published Here
October 15, 2019