This film is barely two and half minutes long, but it nevertheless belongs to the dramatic highlights of Dutch film history. The genius of Wim T. Schippers, Willem de Ridder, and Wim van der Linden led in the mid-1960s to the production of a series of short films under the title Sad Movies, including Tulips, from 1966.
The film shows, in an almost motionless camera setting, a frumpy 1960s interior. The viewer sees a dresser with a vase of tulips atop it. Swelling music accompanies the camera as it slowly zooms in on Holland’s national flower. In the carefully constructed staging, it is like a visual sledgehammer when a single petal suddenly comes loose and falls. Then the camera modestly pulls back.
The debuting director Thomas Rap published an eponymous booklet with pictures from the film, and an accompanying text by Schippers, who notes: ‘The vase, or rather the pot, very much harmonizes with the valiant actinomorphic flowers, and finally ends up being part of the beauty, which at first sight might perish, but, according to Plato, the wise Greek from the past, it is imperishable precisely because of its temporary aspect’.