Late 16th century, persecuted protestantism and general dissatisfaction with the Catholic Habsburg rule in the Netherlands lead to large-scale plundering and vandalizing of churches, only ... See full summary »
Late 16th century, persecuted protestantism and general dissatisfaction with the Catholic Habsburg rule in the Netherlands lead to large-scale plundering and vandalizing of churches, only harshening the Spanish Inquisition, sparkling the Eighty Years War. Flanders, 1568: Italian minstrel Campanelli tells he followed a Dutchman, the robber of a golden chalice, but failed to prevent him being taken -after banging a country-girl- by the men of a rigid farmer Netelneck, who has him tied-up inside a huge shit-container. After Campanelli frees him, the gold stays inside, and the Dutchman is killed, but the minstrel turns to offer the paying audience a happier version. Seven years later, he scares the Dutchman's posthumous son into bringing him food and convinces the kid he can fly, like his dad, who is on a grand ship, but fails to drag the gold out and is blinded and chased by Netelneck. Fourteen years later, the minstrel returns and tricks Netelneck into diving after the gold himself so ... Written by
First of all I would like to point out that this film has absolutely nothing to see with the Dutch folklore story of the ghost ship that is also called THE FLYING DUTCHMAN. In this film, you will not see a single sailing boat. You will not see sailors, ghosts, or anything remotely exciting. It is not the story of the ghost ship, and I wish they had notified it in the main credits or I wouldn't have watched it, because I really thought it was the film about the legend. It seems many people think the film has to do with the legend of the ghost ship, since the film is listed on the Wikipedia page for the "Flying Dutchman" legend... I don't understand why. It is maybe based on the resembling legend called "The Wandering Jew"? Or maybe did they just adapt the worst parts of the legend? The film begins with a fight sequence that would let anyone hope the film will have battle scenes. Unfortunately, it is the only battle scene of the film. Then you see Daniel Emilfork (who was Krank in City of Lost Children) for about two seconds, and that would let anyone hope the film will have good acting. Unfortunately he is very bad in the film. The same thing can be said about Italian actor Nino Manfredi, who was one of Italia's best actors ever, and who here is condemned to embody a crazy bird wrangler with no back story whose only purpose is to seem to be the "wise man" of the film. And boy, does that film need wiseness! Every other character of the story seems to enjoy swimming in excrement, yelling, torturing others (in excrement), fornicating (in excrement) or laying in excrement some more just for the fun of it. It seems to be such fun that each character of the story gets to have his or her turn being dumped in feces at a point or another. Coming from a Dutch director, you might think that extreme dirtiness and shockingly real filth are necessary elements in a period piece, elements which contributed to make Dutch filmmaker Paul Verhoeven's film, "Flesh + Blood", such a great film. The thought of "Flesh + Blood" would let anyone hope that a film similarly filthy and visually straight-forward would be good. Unfortunately, and unlike "Flesh + Blood", there is no dramatic progression, no fights, no good acting, and put simply, no "Flesh and Blood". The photography, as the opening sequence unfolds, is well-done and enticing. This too, stops very early in the film. The music, from Nicola Piovani (of "La vità e bella" fame) is repetitive and annoying, when not irrelevant (it sometimes implies that there is grandeur in a sequence, while on screen the actors are splashing in liquid dung). Throughout the first "act" of the film, which lasts nothing less than an hour (!), the film takes place within the same perimeter, which is around the farm where the main characters live. The characters play with excrement a lot, drown in it, play in it. A long period of time elapses through numerous ellipses to allows the main character, a young boy who loves to play in excrement, to become older and play in excrement some more. The bird-man talks a lot to say foolish things in Italian. Spanish conquistadors speak French. Nothing makes sense. Everything is confused and takes hours to happen. Then there is a second act called "the Ship", in which we see what might have been a ship, a long time ago, but which is now remains of a ship (covered with excrement did I mention?). The main character, while walking a bit further away from the farm, just happens to run into it, and decides it's really cool so let's live in it. The hunchback who lived in it before is trying to kill him, but he doesn't really mind because (did I mention?) he's not very bright. He thinks the ship can navigate and hopes to sail on it, until more conquistadors show up (at least they seemed to be conquistadors because of the Don Quixote style hats but as I've said it's really confused who's who), make the Dutchman a prisoner, along with the retarded hunchback, and they burn the ship to the ground. The last part of the film, which is really hard to bear for the spectator because it just consists of even more excrement with even more retarded middle-age peasants fighting in it, takes place in a mad asylum. Yet more torture and drowning each other with feces. Yet more loitering for the director, who seems to have definitely given up on his job, or passed onto the second crew camera assistant to do the rest of the job. In the end, a lot of the mentally-challenged new "friends" that the Dutchman made die. The woman he had sex with who was his brother's wife to begin with tries to have him meet his son. The Dutchman and his son talk. The film ends after two hours of dungy images and calamitous acting and technical performances. Then the credits roll and the spectator fells immensely free from having to watch atrocious films with no plot that pretend to be something exciting like fantasy films based on legends, while they are nothing but a mere catalog of how full of excrement some films can get when they don't have enough financing powers to put battles instead or even horses.
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