Leo Erken’s first television documentary about the great Dutch – Hungarian photographer Eva Besnyö (1910-2003).
Eva Besnyö and Paul Huf at the Naarden Photo festival 1999. Photo Anke Teunissen.
Eva Besnyö and Paul Huf at the Naarden Photo festival 1999. On the left: Leo Erken Photo Anke Teunissen.
Eva Besnyö at her home in de Vondelstraat in Amsterdam 2001. Photo Anke Teunissen.
Eva Besnyö and Ata Kando filmed by cameraman Deen van Der Zaken, sound man Charles Kersten and director Leo Erken who also made this picture.
Poster for the film made by Eva’s old friend Jan Bons (1918-2012)
In Januari 2003 Leo Erken wrote: Eva Besnyö is a Dutch photographer of Hungarian descent and despite her advanced age she is sharp and clear in mind. She is still with us as a living legend and is everywhere cheered like a pop star. Wherever she goes people want to talk to her. She is always in the spotlight and ranks very high in the art and photography world of the Netherlands. The film tells about her career and shows the process in which she distances herself from her life’s work. She can and will determine for herself what will remain of it for future generations. By selecting or discarding pictures she tries to define the essential part of her oeuvre. Her last savings are spent on printing from negatives in cases where there are no acceptable prints available.
The ‘choice collection’, the 200 most beautiful of her pictures, which she made some twenty years ago, is now in question. Some experts, such as her fellow photographer and at the same time biographer Willem Diepraam, are pressing her to choose from her pre-war work and to minimize her later work. Adriaan Elligens, director of the Maria Austria Institute which is charged with the administration of Besnyö’s archive, has totally different preferences and plans. Eva Besnyö makes heavy demands on herself and the people around her. She impresses by her intelligent, sharp, firm and absolutely original attitude toward life.
The Choice Collection
Die Erste Wahl
A Film by
Deen van der Zaken
and Leo Erken
and Roger Cremers
Marlene van der Kooi
This production was made possible with support from the city of Amsterdam, the Amsterdam Art Fund (AFK) and the Maria Austria Institute (MAI)
You can find the photographs by Eva Besnyö on the website of the