The novels of Jan Wolkers have been regularly filmed ever since Turks Fruit (Turkish Delight, filmed by Paul Verhoeven) became an international success in 1973. Terug naar Oegstgeest is one of the earlier works still much influenced by Jan's unhappy childhood in a fundamentalist Christian family during the war years, comparable in tone with Kort Amerikaans (1979).
Terug naar Oegstgeest features the return of an artist to his roots in a small Dutch village after the death of his parents, whom he hated for their narrow mindedness and hypocrisy brought on by their faith. This return to past memories is an element in several of Wolkers' novels (like in Burning love, filmed in 1983); it leads to flashbacks in which the story of a life and its defining moments are related. Because of its very Dutch setting and subject matter, this film is less accessible to a foreign public than most other Wolkers dramatisations.
Theo van Gogh did an excellent job with the actors in this film, creating a believable setting for the somewhat absurd adventures of the protagonist. The story includes a few icky scenes, but it is nothing compared to van Gogh's later work, like 06. On the whole it is an enjoyable excursion into life in certain Dutch religious circles in the past.
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