Terminus Hoogvliet / Chronicle of a ghetto

A three part television series by Gerard d'Olivat.
An unpolished view on a ghetto in Rotterdam.

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Nominated for best short documentary, Dutch Film Festival 1996

Life in the ghetto can be quite relaxed


Chronicle of a Ghetto is the first of a three-part documentary series Terminus Hoogvliet. It was broadcast on 28 October 1996 in the NCRV/TV-1 programme Document.
Terminus Hoogvliet shows society's underside through the eyes of the people living there. The three episodes each are about the ways people try to escape their problems and try to give content to their lives, with or without the help of official aid agencies.

Chronicle of a Ghetto follows the ups and downs of a couple of ghetto dwellers in the Rotterdam highrise area Hoogvliet for half a year.

In the fifties Shell built the highrise flats in the Rotterdam Rijnmond area Hoogvliet.
for its employees. The streets bear the most exotic names. When the Shell industry left, the flats slowly changed into a ghetto, where life is anything but exotic.
Drug dealers terrorize the streets and deal on the landings. Most inhabitants of Hoogvliet are out of work and face enormous debts. With moonlighting and black market work they try to make ends meet . To the main characters in Chronicle of a Ghetto illegally trading iron and dealing soft drugs is way to keep the bailiff at bay.

Is it possible to escape the Ghetto of Hoogvliet, or are the main characters of Chronicle of a Ghetto fighting a lost fight?
Writer - director Gerard d'Olivat leaves the question unanswered. He rather has the people talk for themselves, because in general people don't like to talk about the ghetto. In Chronicle of a Ghetto Gerard d'Olivat looks at the borders of the possibilities the ghetto dwellers have to really escape their problems.

Part 2: Teenage mothers
Hoogvliet has a high number of teenage mothers. For many girls around 14 to 17 the goal in life is to find a man and have children. Both wishes are quickly granted, only the man mostly disappears as soon as a girl has become pregnant. This often happens more than once. Children in one family may have different fathers. Many teenage mothers come from one-parent families. "Teenage mothers" exposes the backgrounds of a couple of young mothers from one family, who go looking for their own fathers and grandfathers.

Part 3: The Baltimore Connection
In The Baltimore Connection the focus is on the police and the drug problem in Hoogvliet. A comparison s drawn with the situation and approach in the American city Baltimore, where goings-on in the ghetto are much rougher than in Hoogvliet.
The fight against drugs and accompanying criminality appear to be a lost fight in America. In the Netherlands the situation looks a little less hopeless. There still is hope that the drug shelters in Hoogvliet can be won back "landing by landing".
In both cities the people involved state that the fight can really only be won if drugs are taken out of the criminal atmosphere.

Tha Rockers ina Babylon

Keith, one of the main characters in Chronicle of a Ghetto


Script and direction: Gerard d'Olivat

With the participation of: Paul, Refo, Rasta, Ed, Ki, Aad, Stefan and Herbie

Camera and light: Meral Uslu

Sound: Floor Kooij

Editing: Floor Kooij     

Production: Kaie Klaassen en Margie Monfils voor Moving Image Production, Floor Kooij voor Yuca Film


Terminus Hoogvliet are Yuca Film / Moving Image Production films, for TV1 The Netherlands/NCRV-television, in co-production with Yuca Film, and financed with contributions of the Council of Hoogvliet, GGD Rotterdam, Dienst Openbare Werken Rotterdam, Dienst Sociale Zaken en Werkgelegenheid Rotterdam, Projectburo WERK, Ministry of Volksgezo¬ndheid, Welzijn en Sport.

Original language: Dutch and English (The Baltimore Connection)

Language versions: English subtitled and Dutch subtitled (The Baltimore Connection)

Release date: September, 1996

Duration: 3 x 40’

Formats: video / digital

In music you’re only taken seriously with a support act