Over in Utrecht, the Dutch Film Festival (NFF) is happening at full speed. Last year I wrote about missing the NFF, and about my good memories of the festival, this year I actually managed to go. On Saturday morning. When nothing new was screening. I had a blast with a screening of one of the first Dutch sound films, De Jantjes, but none of the films I came to see (Lotus, De Bende van Oss, Bennie Stout) were shown during those hours.
So here are those films, reviewed merely by there trailers…
De Bende van Oss (The Gang of Oss) is a historical piece about a group of criminals in the Brabant city of Oss, their struggle with the authorities and one woman’s, well, adventures, I think. The regional element is important: as the criminals resist the law as much as they resist the dominant culture ofHolland (the Western part of theNetherlands). It’s always nice to see a film in dialect, and the design and lighting is gorgeous, but my enthusiasm is lowered by what seems to be a cliché story, superfluous sex and tiring overacting.
Director: André van Duren. Starring: Sylvia Hoeks, Frank Lammers & Daan Schuurmans
Merely based on its synopsis, Lotus is a Dutch language copy of P.T. Anderson’s Magnolia. A film about a whole lot of unhappy people whose lives appear to be more connected than they think. Including inspirational one-liners and a weepy / hipster soundtrack. I mean, come on, it even has a a flower’s name as a title, without being a film about flowers. Good to see Rotterdam feature prominently in film, though. Especially as Amsterdam was already the stage for similarly themed television series A’dam & Eva earlier this year.
Dir. Pascale Simons. Starring: Monique Hendrickx, Jack Wouterse, Chris Zegers, Gaite Jansen, Georgina Verbaan & Birgit Schuurman
For the kids (and their parents) there is Bennie Stout (free translated as I’m noghty). A period piece set, like De Bende van Oss, during the great crisis of the late 1920s and early 1930s (modern economic circumstances find their way to Dutch cinema screens through a detour it seems). Problem child Benjamin misses his father, who is working in Bilbao, Spain. The film combines a powerful and remarkably modern emotional subject (one-parent families in which absent fathers cause problematic behaviour in their sons) with slapstick comedy and an original take on the Sinterklaas celebration. It should therefore be a strong contender in the November and December box office.
Dir. Johan Nijenhuis. Starring: Hannah Verboom, Koen Dobbelaar & Irene Moors