Herman Finkers makes his film debut at the age of 65. In De Beentjes in Sint-Hildegard he plays a man who is in danger of suffocating under the influence of his wife. In real life, he has been suffering from lymphatic leukemia for more than fifteen years. "I should have been dead for a few years, but I'm still here."
"Oh, how beautiful. I know what this is. I still have a comic book from it. Don't you want it myself? How wonderful!"
The interview with Finkers takes place on the press day of De Beentjes of Sint-Hildegard . The new film from Johan Nijenhuis ( Costa, Onze Jongens ). Finkers not only wrote the tragic comedy scenario, but also chose his direct opponents. Among other things, this resulted in a leading role for Johanna ter Steege.
Before the conversation starts, Finkers receives the epte from the interviewer. I bake them browner . Four fairy tales written and recorded by Gerard Reve. Released in 1966. While looking at the picture, his clear blue eyes seem to become even lighter: "I once read Reve's Duck Kwak is cooking his own pot . The children who were present no longer recovered from laughter."
Several portraits of Reve hang in your house.
"How do you know that?"
In the recent issue of the magazine Zin is a photo reportage.
"There is a painting by Gerrit Breteler and one or two photos."
Reve was taken to court in the 1960s because he described in a magazine and in the book Nader to U how god appeared on earth in the form of an ass and how he would have anal sex with that ass. In the opening scene of De Beentjes in Sint-Hildegard we see an old man taking a walk with a donkey. Is that a tribute to Reve?
"There was no association. But now I wonder why I put that donkey in there. (Think a little.) That man had to be a pilgrim and pilgrims often have a donkey with them. If it was a tribute, I should have added another scene with that donkey. "
"For a while I thought I wanted a mule"
You once said that Monty Python's Life of Brian should not be broadcast on Good Friday, but that Reve has sex with god in the form of a donkey is funny.
"I don't find it funny, but profound. In his defense to court, Reve said that in ancient Greek myths it is quite normal that gods turn into animals and then have fellowship with people. Life of Brian is my favorite film, but it must "You don't broadcast on Good Friday. I never performed on that day, not even on a commemoration of the dead. I don't think it's appropriate to perform a cheerful cabaret show. That just doesn't belong."
In an essay that you wrote after the death of Reve, you tell how you visited his grave at night in Machelen-aan-de-Leie in Belgium. Why did you do that?
"Because the gate was open. Normally a graveyard is closed after sunset. It looked very sad. (Silence) I have always had a weakness for mules, which I find even more touching than ordinary donkeys. On a pilgrimage in the Spanish El I got to know Rocío well: during a procession the wooden statue of the Virgin Mary from the Hermitage of El Rocío is worn, and a huge mass of people forms in front of that church. get an inspiration from the holy spirit. That can take fifteen minutes, but also all night. You never know when the virgin leaves the church. Sometimes the rumor comes that she comes and then a madness goes through that crowd. "
"The moment she is actually carried outside, you feel a huge discharge. People start to cry. I saw that image come out, but it went all the way back and forth. When I wanted to find out how it happened, I saw all young men walk forward and displace each other, all testosterone came out, their eyes wide open, sweat gushing from their bodies, real men's air hung, they were like young bulls, when I was near the statue came, I saw that fighting was taking place. Boys from other brotherhoods also wanted to wear the statue, but older, authoritative men struck against it. As I watched the fight, I thought: that virgin is not honored, but raped. "
"When I then felt how someone was trying to roll my bags, it all got too much for me. I walked to an adjoining square where all the little carriages with mules were standing. They radiated such resignation." Do what you want with me, hit me me. I will keep pulling, "they seemed to say. I just sat there in between. I then thought for a while that I wanted a mule at home too."
The calming effect of the animal would in that sense fit well with the chapel in your home.
"But it's under the ground, I can't get a donkey down the stairs like that."
If you say that you had a chapel built in your house, does that surprise people?
"Yes and I am surprised about that again. Because if I were to show a children's room, nobody would ask a question about it. I think a chapel makes more sense."
In the stained glass windows of your chapel are the saints you and your wife are named after. Do you feel like a child of God when you are in that chapel?
"No. (laughs) I don't think in terms like that."
But when you returned to the scene after the seven-year absence in 2009 with the performance After the break , you started with Psalm 131. It says ...
"I have become quiet, like a little one is lying with the mother." But then I also became literally quieter, because I no longer performed and became sick. Then you become quieter, I was no longer present in the circus. "
“You hold up a host and say that it is the body of Christ. Absurd."
How are you feeling now?
"Well, it's up and down."
Does God also disappoint you?
"It doesn't bother me. Did He do it again, sure? Listen, I should have been dead for a few years, but I'm still there. Because new drugs are constantly being invented. I feel very humble and grateful. I know enough people who got the same disease after me and died. I feel very embarrassed. It's crazy, why did they have to die and not me?
May you occasionally have a bale day of yourself?
"You sometimes have that and then I am embarrassed about it. Then you have to take hold of yourself. I am not that hypochondriac or worried. Most comedians are hard on my hands, I am not bothered by that."
Finkers describes himself as "a religious being who sometimes feels the physical need to go to a church". Although De Heilige Beentjes of Sint-Hildegard contains "only two Catholic scenes", Finkers never abandoned faith in his work.
The latest evidence is provided by the Gregorian Singa Mass Missa in Mysterium , with which he travels through the Dutch churches together with the choir Wishful Singing.
"I directed that mass, because I wanted to determine if I saw well what I am looking for in the faith. You cannot describe God. You can only think of a form for dealing with the mystery and I do that in a Catholicism is full of contradictions You hold up a host and say that it is the body of Christ Absurdly, Mary is the mother of God, but He is also her creator, so she gives birth to her own creator. But that brings relief and consolation. Our existence is absurd too. Just think of the immense universe we live in. That is overwhelming. You don't know whether it is behind it and what it would be behind. But you can't say: "I don't talk and don't think about it, because I can't figure it out." Then you suppress something. "
Does that overwhelming and absurd also relate the fear of death?
"I didn't think of that disease. So I don't have to worry about it, right? I'm not afraid of death. I would be afraid if I never died. That you would live endlessly seems to me hell. As you get older, that changes. How many old people do say, "I think it's okay,"? But I'm 65 now, it's too early for me. "