Photo: Aad Hoogendoorn

n the late 1970s and early 1980s, when gay activism was experiencing explosive growth in the Randstad, Rob de Vries was coming out. As an amateur filmmaker, he recorded his own immersion in the gay movement of the time with his 8mm camera.

De Vries filmed the theatre performances, militant songs, colourful drag queens and large demonstrations he attended in the Netherlands and abroad. He met well-known figures from the gay acceptance movement such as performance artist Fabiola and politician Herman Meijer, became friends and travelled with artists such as Het Valse Nichtenkoor (The Bitchy Queens’ Choir) and Tedje en de Flikkers (Little Ted and the Poofters). Rob summarised the experiences he couldn't capture live in short semi-fictional films, covering themes such as gay bashers or his own coming-out.

De Vries has transferred all the visual reports he made during a period of more than 30 years to the Rotterdam City Archives. Based on this historical material and De Vries’s stories, Arthur Bueno made a compilation of his work, which resulted in this 52-minute film.

Flikker offers a rare glimpse into the activist gay scene in Rotterdam and the surrounding area over the years, at a time when the Netherlands was only moderately open to it. It is also a tour of Rob de Vries's work, as well as an insight into his fascinating private life.

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