Before 'Turks Fruit'(1973) and its hard-to-swallow cocktail of sex, vomit and anal rape, before 'Spetters'(1980)and its gay sex, anal rape and other suicide sequences, before 'Robocop'(1987) and its morbid graphic violence, urination and bullet in the genitals scenes, a former, younger, fresher Paul Verhoeven existed and 'Feest', his fourth short filmed at the age of 25, is there to testify to it. The story could not be simpler: a high school student falls in love with a girl of another class, finds it hard to approach her and when he does do it, invites her to the school dance ... to mixed results.
This refreshingly unpretentious coming of age story is very much influenced by the French New wave, which privileged the expression of feelings filmed on location with a light camera in an everyday environment, most of the time urban. The setting here is The Hague and more particularly Haganum High School (where the director himself studied) whose every crook and nanny Verhoeven's slick camera explores feverishly. As for the hero, he is a Dutch-looking Jean-Pierre Léaud (that is to say: taller and blonder) who finds it hard to express his feelings and emotions.
Well played by amateur actors, 'Feest' surprises by its unexpected refreshing spontaneousness. However it is mostly Verhoeven's technical virtuosity that impresses the viewer. His masterful camera-work and editing doubtless foreshadows the great American technician he will become. But nothing of the demons his work will be confronted in the future appear yet.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?