Inschrijven op de nieuwsbrief

Love, hate, whatever! It's all about me!

Arnon Grunberg and Gerlinda Heywegen discuss Mel Brooks and his movies

Studio B - Centrale Bibliotheek Den Haag, Spui 68, 1e etage

Mel Brooks - isn't he the director of films like Spaceballs and Blazing Saddles? Someone you love or... just not?

That's right! Thursday evening 17 March was all about the American actor, comedian, film director, screenwriter and producer, known for his persiflage and satirical jokes. Based on film fragments, Writers Unlimited film editor Gerlinda Heywegen and writer Arnon Grunberg discussed the phenomenon Mel Brooks.

Arnon Grunberg saw Brooks' first film The Producers (1968) at the right time and in the right place: just after he moved to New York. The film made a great impression on Grunberg. Not least because of its outspoken humour – typically New Yorker, according Brooks himself.

Hollywood and show business were central to this programme. Mel Brooks honoured and persiflated many film genres with his satire. He turned a failed musical about Hitler into a film story (The Producers) and morphed the western (Blazing Saddles), the horror genre (Young Frankenstein) and science fiction (Spaceballs) to his own universe. And then, of course, there is Hitler. Hitler whom he took revenge on, time and again, by making fun of him endlessly.

If you stand on a soapbox and trade rhetoric with a dictator you never win...That's what they do so well: they seduce people. But if you ridicule them, bring them down with laughter, they can't win. You show how crazy they are. - Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks' autobiography, All about me, was recently published, and with more than 450 pages, he isn't going anywhere. Grunberg and Heywegen both praised and detested Brooks. They both agree that he is more than just a joke, but after that, opinions soon differed: love, hate, whatever! It's all about Brooks!

Dutch-language programme.
Programme composed by Gerlinda Heywegen (Writers Unlimited). Book sale by De Vries Van Stockum Boeken.