The film "Lentelied" (spring song) is intriguing. On the surface the script consists of three love stories: two between a man and a woman, and one between the spectator and our wonderful country. To start with the latter affair: there are many enchanting shots and pictures of the coast, the dunes and the amazing sea. Of Rotterdam, the largest harbor of Europe. Of windmills and folk-musicians. So if you like us ... And then there are the two young couples: one from the working class, and the other from the new rich. The relation between the rich couple is arranged, and they are not very happy about it. The poor couple is together from choice, but not yet engaged. The two couples meet, and for a moment (the duration of the film) there appears to occur a swapping of partners. Especially the rich ones make advances, although their true intentions remain obscure (if you know what I mean). But fortunately in the end the poor couple perseveres. Hurray! However, is this all? Does the story really end here? No, hang on. There may be messages hidden under the surface. Consider the circumstances of 1936. The Netherlands were still in an economic depression. The threat of the Nazist regime from the neighboring Germany was evident. In such cynical times a naive love story is out of place. And it is true. As said at the beginning, the images foster a Heimat-like nationalism. And in fact the swap of partners seems justified, considering the characters and their temperaments. The workman (who is unemployed since several years) considers becoming a street musician, and the heiress is a naughty witch. On the other hand, the miller's daughter and the heir are boring and simpletons. The latter even become engaged! Do you know about the Dutch boor who always wore clogs so that he could hear himself coming? In the end it is the workman, who refuses to unite out of his social class. Perhaps the film is meant to be a warning against impulsive decisions (it includes two car crashes). The brave Dutch lad stuck his finger in the dyke, and she punched the hell out of him. But it looks more like a narration about the defeat of love by the sentiments of the proletarian class and of the calculating rich. It is almost a plea for traditional and social hierarchy in a world full of turmoil and chaos. Is it an elegy?
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