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René van 't Hof
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Salah Eddine Benmoussa,
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Berry is a nice teenage boy from a Dutch suburban villa family, who alas abuses the excessive liberty granted by his mostly absent pa, an actor, committing truancy from his elite school in bad down-town company. Despite this dwindling future perspectives, his cute and cocky appearance makes him quite a lady-killer; Berry counts himself quite lucky to become the instantly intimate boyfriend of crazy Thera, a junkie who stopped modeling professionally or anything else productive. The pair engages in a passionate affair, and impulsively decides to embark on a 'world tour' to their arbitrary favorite destinations -Barcelona, Denver and Tonga- which they finance by cashing rent and warrants from many interested persons for the fine residence of an old lady Thera was in fact just house-sitting. After Berry says goodbye indefinitely to his well-groomed and -behaved elder brother Rein while showering together, the 'elopers' start spending the ill-gotten funds like water in a luxury hotel, but... Written by
The Playboy magazine featuring Thera was the real October edition of 2002 featuring Katja Schuurman. She had until then always rejected every offer to appear nude in the magazine, and only agreed to do so as her character Thera from the movie. See more »
When Berry is talking to Thera in her mother's apartment for the first time, supposedly to bring her things, the weather (seen from behind Thera lying on the sofa) changes from dry conditions in daylight to rain in the evening in between shots. See more »
OYSTERS AT NAM KEE'S (Pollo de Pimentel - Netherlands 2002).
Based on the novel "De Oesters van Nam Kee" by Kees van Beijnum, who also took credit for the screenplay, the film handles the love story between 18-year old schoolboy Berry (Egbert-Jan Weeber) and the older nightclub dancer and femme-fatale Thera (Katja Schuurman). Berry leads a double-life; for his petty criminal friends he hides the fact that he is from the only upper-class street in the neighborhood, but he trusts Thera and tells her everything (why shouldn't he?). When their love reaches its apogee with the consumption of oysters at the Zeedijk restaurant "De Oesters van Nam Kee", Thera suddenly disappears from Berry's life. Desperate, he seeks the company of his old friends again and things go from bad to worse.
The film got an unprecedented publicity campaign at the time, because the film's female lead Katja Schuurman was gonna shed her clothes, and
at the same time - posed naked in Playboy Magazine as Thera (!), the
name of her character in the film. After a pre-screening of the film many people apparently objected against the explicit nudity (reputedly mostly Muslim girls)and the makers immediately caved in and cut a number of scenes. Is it the morally conservative climate that seemed to have taken hold over Dutch society? I'm not sure. Probably a carefully planned publicity stunt, a painful example of self-censorship, or just an exercise in bad taste.
Too bad the whole affair was all for naught, because there's nothing of interest in the entire film. Badly scripted with some awful dialog, and some textbook examples of what NOT to do in a screenplay; for instance, when Berry's inner thoughts in the book are transferred as dialog in the film, with - off course - disastrous and sometimes hilarious results. I'd rather have some gratuitous exploitation flick with Katja Schuurman than this mess. It's a shame really, because she has an undeniable screen presence and is primarily a physical actress. Every movement she makes seems so effortlessly erotic. In this film it becomes tiresome because of the lousy story, but that's not really hers to blame. There must be plenty of roles for her, if you know how to use her talents. Hollywood is full of screen sirens, who are not trained or particularly gifted actresses, but Katja Schuurman is over thirty now, and nobody seems to know how to use her talents.
Kees van Beijnum also wrote the screenplay, but seems to have learned from his mistakes one year later with his work on DE PASSIEVRUCHT (2004) by Karel Glastra van Loon, which turned out to be a very decent film, but with "Oesters" nobody seemed to have the slightest idea what they were doing. I don't want to see his film again.
Camera Obscura --- 2/10
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