When Forever Dies

When Forever Dies is the mythical tale of two star-crossed lovers torn between light and shadow, told in a torrent of archival images. Across many times and places and just as many genres, we watch a gothic romance unfold between Forever Woman and Forever Man. Their lust for life is enchanting, but “happily ever after” always eludes them. Once the lovers strike a deal with the devil to make their wildest dreams come true, their fate turns, unleashing a battle of the sexes. As archetypes devolve into stereotypes and the One grows into the Other, the greatest of lovers become the fiercest of enemies. This is how love turns into hate. Will the couple ever find a way back?

  • Peet Gelderblom
  • Peet Gelderblom
  • Nienke Korthof
  • Willem Baptist
  • Pieter Straatman
  • Kettel
  • Man After Midnight
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Feature
  • Genres:
    Drama, Romance, Archival Fiction, Collage Film
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 49 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    August 31, 2020
  • Country of Origin:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9 (Multi)
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Imagine Film Festival
    August 31, 2020
    World Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Film by the Sea
    September 15, 2020
    Official Selection
  • Nederlands Film Festival
    September 25, 2020
    Official Selection
  • Film Fest Gent
    October 14, 2020
    Official Selection
  • Thessaloniki International Film Festival
    November 13, 2020
    Official Selection
  • ULTRAcinema
    Tepic, Nayarit
    November 22, 2020
    Closing Film
    Official Selection
  • Fisura International Film Festival
    Mexico City
    April 10, 2021
    Official Selection
  • Il Cinema Ritrovato
    July 25, 2021
    Official Selection
  • Bogotá Experimental Film Festival / CineAutopsia
    August 31, 2021
    Closing Film
    Audience Award
  • Istanbul International Experimental Film Festival
    November 13, 2021
    Special Screening
Director Biography - Peet Gelderblom

Peet Gelderblom is a director, writer, editor and video essayist from the Netherlands. His very diverse filmography includes collage films, documentaries, commercials, drama, online content and broadcast design. He has written and edited numerous articles and video essays for RogerEbert, IndieWire, Imagine Film Festival, Fandor, Film School Rejects and Slant.

His archival fiction feature When Forever Dies carries the tagline "A cinematic fantasia 125 years in the making." Assembled from fragments of hundreds of largely forgotten movies - most of them found in the Eye Filmmuseum archives - it tells the story of two star-crossed lovers trapped in a kingdom of shadows, fighting to keep their love alive as they gradually fall in hate.

In 2016, Gelderblom's re-cut of Brian De Palma's "Raising Cain" became the first fan edit to be crowned official Director's Cut. The Hollywood legend let him supervise its restoration for an internationally praised Blu-ray release. Gelderblom's short fiction film Out of Sync, which screened at festivals worldwide, painted a uniquely involving portrait of a marriage at breaking point by separating sound from visuals. Film critic Matt Zoller Seitz described it as "formally adventurous and technically impeccable, but with soul and a point. A rare combination of aspects."

A series of conceptual movie mash-ups created by Gelderblom, entitled "Pretty Messed Up," had a 6-episode run on Filmscalpel and Fandor. The Road to Change, a heartfelt plea for a sustainable food system in the form of a 5 minutes long tracking shot, was awarded Best Commissioned Film of 2019. For Dutch television, Gelderblom directed the historical documentary series "Verborgen Verleden van Nederland" (Hidden History of Holland), drama series like "Schuldig of Niet?" (Guilty/Not Guilty) and "Fotostudio De Jong."

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Director Statement

Archival footage is usually deployed to document the past: to create a time capsule of what once was and is no more. That traditional approach is perfectly legitimate, but the vast creative possibilities that film archives offer are rarely explored in full.

I don’t see moving pictures from the past as ancient relics, but as living things. In a recycled context, these old pieces of film have the power to open closed doors of perception. Their expressiveness is timeless and sometimes painfully relevant. The root of problems we face today is often clearly visible in yesterday’s cinema, even when it wasn’t at the time.

The tools of the digital age allow filmmakers as myself to clash perspectives, combine wildly different sources in unexpected ways and overlay a contemporary point of view. When these antiquated images are used as building blocks for archival fiction or other experiments, they offer a vintage lens through which one can see the present more clearly.

In the age of sampling and recycling, it’s only logical to consider the potential of a circular cinema: a second chance for orphaned reels of film to find a new home. When Forever Dies is my attempt to take this concept as far as I can, but I never expected the end product to feel so deeply personal.

As I dived into the archives, the archives also dived into me. I chose to work only with images that really spoke to me, and much to my surprise, the images I found demanded a discussion. What started out as my ode to cinema became a manifestation of all I hold dear and fear of losing, as alluring as it is distressing. Resulting in a story that dares to stare hot topics like gender politics, discrimination and polarization straight in the face.