In January 1945, during the 2nd world-war, the Dutch resistance kills a collaborator in the street where the 12 year old Anton Steenwijk lives. The man was shot in front of his neighbors ... See full summary »
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Monique van de Ven,
In January 1945, during the 2nd world-war, the Dutch resistance kills a collaborator in the street where the 12 year old Anton Steenwijk lives. The man was shot in front of his neighbors house, but is moved by them to the house of the family Steenwijk. Because of this, his father, mother and brother are killed by the Germans, and their house is set to fire. During his life, Anton meets several people that tell him more about what really happened on the night of the assault. Written by
This film is based on the Harry Mulisch novel, and both have some distinguishing characteristics that go back - on purpose - to classic Greek tragedy theatre. The incredible co-incidence that carries the story is reminiscent of ancient literary 'vehicles' that carry a story. Thus, you should not look at the chance events as being part of the story, but as being the foundation for the story - they, in themselves, should not really be questioned.
Also, note that every chance meeting is preceded by a meeting with some kind of stone. The Dutch word for dice is 'dobbelsteen', or dicing-stone, so that the simile of dice and chance can be extended to stones and chance. This explains the significance of Anton meeting his first wife while visiting the Stone of Scones.
The book, more strongly than the film, is also constructed as a Greek tragedy, with a prologue, five acts and then an epilogue.
Anton Steenwijk is also interesting himself: he represses the events of the assault, but it keeps coming back at him. But he is an anaesthetist in more than one way - he puts his memories to sleep. Even in the final stages, when the story is already quite clear to him, he uses drugs at his house in Tuscany and seeks to ease a toothache in Amsterdam before going to the Ban the Bomb demonstration.
Personally, I think the book was translated into a film in brilliant fashion. My major qualm with it is the mediocrity of the sound and sound effects. Some pretty good acting and a fantastic storyline make this one well worth the watch.
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