19 September 2013 Sandor Soeteman edited three-part series De Prooi.
During the months of May, June and July 2013, I worked on the editing of De Prooi. An interesting, ambitious project based on the bestseller of the same name by Jeroen Smits and featuring Pierre Bokma, Victor Löw and Anniek Pheifer in the lead roles.This three-part series premiered – in a special film version – at the Netherlands Film Festival and was broadcasted by the VARA TV station from 19 October. The script for De Prooi was written by Frank Ketelaar and the three-part series was directed by Theu Boermans. Boermans and Ketelaar previously won the Prix d’Europe for the television film De Uitverkorene.
De Prooi, a classical tragedy as well as a thriller set in the financial world, is about the fall of the ABN Amro bank and tells the story of the rise and fall of its CEO, Rijkman Groenink. A contemporary ‘power drama’ about a topic of great current interest.
The three parts of this mini-series has its own unique feel. The first part is told using a frame story: a conversation between Jan Kalff and Nout Wellink about the appointment of Groenink. The atmosphere, created through the camerawork and editing, is that of the ‘old’ bank; solid and stately. As soon as Groenink arrives on the scene, things get a lot more dynamic and there is a lot more movement. For example, during a dinner between rivals Van Tets and Groenink, we used tracking shots to stress when they were testing one another out, and then suddenly switched to static shots when standpoints were being taken. The second part is the bank under a new regime. The organisation structure is characterised by direct, straight lines. Under Groenink’s leadership, a new broom is sweeping through the bank and ABN Amro is focussing more on international business. Factors such as desert race in Morocco, dealing with Italian bankers and the international business world cause emotions to become heated. In this part, we use a lot of archive material, both visual and from the radio, which was painstakingly researched in advance. During the editing, we exhaustively went through all this material to make sure we put the right fragments together to give extra content to the story we wanted to tell and to create a clearer impression of that time. The challenge was to achieve the right balance between the journalistic narrative and the personal drama the characters are involved in. The interesting thing was that this led to new scenes that seamlessly complemented the script. This second part has a lot of visual effects shots, partly because of the amount of archive footage used, and so needed a lot of work in terms of editing (in addition to ‘just’ telling story). The last part is about the downfall of Groenink and the bank. The end of his regime is illustrated visually by a distinct style of camerawork by Director of Photography Theo Bierkens, which gives this part a clear personal signature. This marks the culmination of the ‘power play’. For the editing, this style meant a number of choices had to be made. The visual footage was shot at very high resolution, making it possible to bring the images closer, to zoom in and distort them. This enables us to feel like we are really getting into Groenink’s head, and this enhances the drama.
De Prooi Director: Theu Boermans Screenplay: Frank Ketelaar Director of Photography: Theo Bierkens Producer: IDTV, VARA