6.5/10
238
6 user 1 critic

To Play or To Die (1990)

Spelen of sterven (original title)
Unrated | | Drama
In this short motion picture, schoolboy Kees is intelligent, introvert and sensitive, but gets ridiculed verbally and physically at an all-boys school by mindlessly cocky class mates and ... See full summary »

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(story), | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Tjebbo Gerritsma ...
Charel
Simon Gribling ...
Math. Teacher
Joost Hienen ...
Charel's friend
Geert Hunaerts ...
Kees
Cock van der Lee ...
Charel's friend
Diane Lensink ...
Mother
Titus Muizelaar ...
Phys. Ed. Teacher
Mike Starink ...
Charel's friend
Wim Van Der Grijn ...
Father
...
French Teacher
Marc van Uchelen ...
Charel's friend
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Storyline

In this short motion picture, schoolboy Kees is intelligent, introvert and sensitive, but gets ridiculed verbally and physically at an all-boys school by mindlessly cocky class mates and even insensitive teachers, especially in gym, where his physical weakness is mercilessly abused to make him a defenseless laughing stock in front of his smirking peers. His awakening sexual interest goes to boys, and in particular to Charel, a beautiful athletic classmate who probably feels an undetermined interest but would never risk admitting (possibly not even to himself) having any gay or bi appreciation, least of all for a 'sissy', and thus remains unresponsive to shy Kees' overtures. When the hunk finally comes over to Kees' place while his parents are away, a desperate disappointment with a tragical twist is in the making... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated

Parents Guide:

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Also Known As:

Spielen oder Sterben  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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User Reviews

This psychological drama is appealing, tragic, and fascinating.
14 January 2004 | by (Midwest USA) – See all my reviews

I agree with other comments that Kees is not seeking revenge, as stated on the DVD jacket, but that Kees is deeply in love with Charel. The movie is a psychological study of a young boy unable to deal with his emotions and unable to express his feelings. One of the most striking moments in the movie could easily escape notice: when the boys are headed outside for exercise, Kees finds himself falling further behind and, to his dismay, calls out to Charel for no apparent reason. This deeply-felt, yet unexplainable reaction speaks volumes. He longs for, but cannot attain the object of his desire. The distance of a few feet sends distress signals throughout him, so that he is unable to control his reaction. Charel is equally unable to deal with the feelings he suspects Kees has for him; he responds not with compassion and understanding, but with rejection and defiance.

The acting is compelling and the characters are appealing. I watched this short film more than once and was fascinated with the nuances of expression and the dynamics of the contrasting main characters. I found it easy to relate to the characters and a social situation that precludes the natural expression of certain emotions. Although some technical aspects of the film could be improved, the subject and its impact are masterfully presented.


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