Although it is no longer a popular symbol in the Netherlands, even in the tourist industry, the mill is still an emblematic and referential image. In the years when Alfred Machin was working in Holland andBelgium, he both used and abused this image. So much so, that I like to think of these films as forming a cycle of mill films. Admittedly, Machin films mills extraordinarily well. Often, it is only the base of the mill or the tiny staircase that is visible, together with the sinister shadow of the sails (as in LE MOULIN MAUDIT). Sometimes he uses a double image: in DE MOLENS DIE JUICHEN EN WEENEN (The Mills inJoy and Sorrow),the little boy is seen playing with a miniature mill in the foreground, with the real mill looming in the background. In LEMOULIN MAUDIT the image of the windmill is reflected in the waters of the river in which the hero drowns. Then, suddenly, we are shown a mill on fire: in MAUDITE SOIT LA GUERRE and in DE MOLENS DIE JUICHENEN WEENEN, where in a beautiful (and very long) final shot, the burning mill is reflected in the water. On yet another occasion (LAFILLE DE DELFT, THE GIRL FROM DELFT), a windmill is struck by lightning. A burning windmill is a fantastic sight, with the wind furiously whipping its flaming sails. There is something agonising and baleful about the turning sails of a windmill, even when they are not on fire. The blind fury of the wind is trapped in their teeth, and the air is lashed into a violent struggle between the machine and the forces of nature.
Eric de Kuyper: AlfredMachin Cinéaste / Film-maker. Brüssel 1995