Together with "hufter", this seems the only way of communication the characters are capable of. The original idea was to make a documentary about psychiatric patients in order to create more understanding for their problems with the general public. The increasingly popular opinion in psychiatry at the time was to let patients back in society and let them live on their own whenever possible. In order to make the subject more accessible they decided to turn the project into a feature film with well-known actors like Peter Faber, Leen Jongewaard Albert Mol and Dolf de Vries for the necessary appeal at the box office, but audiences thought otherwise and stayed away. I cannot be exactly sure what they originally had in mind, but references to Forman's ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST (1975) must have crossed the writers' minds when writing this. Sadly, this film not only falls well short of that classic but basically falls short in every department imaginable.
Basically, the premise is not bad, but after that it seems like nothing was done to develop this idea into something filmable. There's no plot, just a collection of loosely connected sketches containing some of the worst dialog I've heard in long time. The mixture of comedy with the forced educational tone doesn't work AT ALL. Then we get a truly stunning lesson how to do everything wrong in a motion picture. The film opens with a seemingly never-ending list of credits but no interesting shots or visuals to accompany them (must have been something like 5 minutes, but it felt like forever). Then a message appears on screen about the difficulties psychiatric patients have to cope and that the picture is dedicated to all the 20,000 patients in the Netherlands, but it's so heavy-handed and the timing so utterly out of place, what little hope I had for the film soon vanished.
Amidst the awful dialog, all attempts at humor keep bouncing back, again and again. Peter Faber does his best and Leen Jongewaard doesn't seem to know how to play his part, but some "actors" or extras deliver their lines moronically amateurish and afterwards they look right into the camera. It just makes you scream: "Cut, let's do that again." On top of this, the staging and set-ups, camera-work are so amateurish, they unintentionally begin to look like daring experiments. The focus-puller repeatedly forgets to do his job and for some reason the camera sometimes keeps searching for the actors, but then settles for some plants in the corner of the room for no clear reason. It's a complete mess. Perhaps the cast can be acquitted, since there's was obviously a total lack of ideas to begin with, but even when the right material would have been available, the director and his team would probably have ruined it anyway.
Camera Obscura --- 1/10
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