A 1976 Buick LeSabre is the car of John Gisberts. The exhaust pipe is on the right of the car. In one shot (when his kids put a condom on the exhaust), it is moved to the left. Same for a yellow sticker on the back of the car. See more »
This Dutch film was a big commercial and critical hit when it appeared on Dutch screens in 1984. Which is really odd, considering that it's probably impossible to get a sort of film like this made these days anywhere. This movie is clearly influenced by the struggles that parents and children endure with each other. Everyone who is going through or has gone through puberty or is a parent of a child going through puberty might recognize the basis of the story. But the brilliance of Van Hemert is that he has taken this outline based on reality and has blown it out of proportion, which makes the movie a truly entertaining and demented experience.
The family Gisberts live in a very affluent villa. Father John Gisberts works in a nearby army base, where he does not do any much except for flying around in a helicopter, thereby checking out his family the whole time. His family is a real wild bunch. There's the mother Danny, who has fooled around with her tennis teacher Dennis, who is actually in love with the daughter of the family, Madelon. She harbors the same feelings for Dennis, although Danny does everything to stop them. The eldest son Thijs, in the meanwhile, is going through a heavy puberty and likes to cross on his motor cycle through the family garden, thereby destroying it. And then there are the two youngest sons Jan-Julius and Valentijn, who are clearly following the examples of their elder siblings and are up to no good. The children are wholly neglected by their parents, and if they are not neglected then they are condescended to or shouted at. John and Danny are clearly in an unhappy marriage and were not ever meant to have children. The only thing they seem to care about is their social status, with John clearly up for a promotion at his army base. The children are fed up with their parents' neglect and in the beginning are trying to get their attention at whatever means necessary, even if that means converting the alarm clock next to their parents'bed into... a ticking bomb! Of course, this doesn't work. And soon the fights descend into an all-out war between the two generations of the Gisberts family with a highlight being the children gassing their parents to a long sleep, evicting their parents out of the house and the parents trying to regain their house with the help of John's friends of the army base in one of the best action scenes ever done in Dutch cinema.
Schatjes starts blackly comic and veers into action-thriller territory and finally ends up with a horror sequence, homaging Kubrick's The Shining. It also has a bizarre musical interlude, in which tennis teacher Dennis tries get back with Madelon by singing a song; a scene that clearly tries to send up genre conventions, but completely fails. Reasons for inclusion of this scene might be director Ruud van Hemert and his former experience with the then-experimental Dutch television network VPRO. But the rest of the movie is assuredly directed and written by Van Hemert. The actors are also quite up to the task. As the parents Peter Faber (John) and Geert de Jong (Danny) descend comically and believably (albeit in a grotesque kind of way) from egotistical nitwits to maniacal bastards. The children start out believably as irritating little sh*ts, but their characters turn out to be easy to root for and are most of the time, bizarrely enough, affecting. Clearly Van Hemert was wanting the public to root for the children, which makes the movie quite controversial as usually the parents' position is something that can't be questioned in a patriarchal world, like the one we live in. but Van Hemert had the guts to stick the finger to conservative thinking, which makes Schatjes! a guilty pleasure.
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