The film is a cheerful stylized musical comedy a la 8 femmes. The story happens in the guest-house of sister Klivia in one of the Dutch towns. The inhabitants of the guest-house are very ...
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Danny de Munk,
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The film is a cheerful stylized musical comedy a la 8 femmes. The story happens in the guest-house of sister Klivia in one of the Dutch towns. The inhabitants of the guest-house are very cheerful and good-hearted persons whose open communal lifestyle is contrasted with the life of somewhat nasty and complaining neighbor behind the wall heer Boordevool. Boordevool has spent ages looking for reasons to shut the guest-house. One day a girl from the guest-house meets a nice young guy Gerrit. Sister Klivia lets Gerrit stay regardless of him being a thief. Will that give a chance to the insinuations of the neighbor? Written by
The red cross on the men's singlets has the letters J, Z, N and Z in the four corners. These are the initials of the film's title. The red cross on the marching girls' costumes is surrounded by the name of the film. See more »
Although the movie is set in the '60s, you can see a present day cat food tin when Ingenieur feeds his pill to Boordevol's cat. See more »
During the credits a home movie is shown in which the then princess Beatrix visits the resthouse with her son Willem-Alexander. Funny touch: Willem-Alexander is already wearing a crown and Beatrix is pregnant, expecting her second child. See more »
Why? I cannot decipher the intrigue why this movie would have gained the label as a lesbian and gay movie, it has been dumped into such category in New York, San Francisco, Hamburg, Reel Affirmations, Hong Kong, Reykjavik film festivals. If it is because of the relationship between Boordevol and Wouter, the gay plot line is recessive at all. It's a movie of fun, joy, human warmth, acceptance, forgiveness and resilience. I got no clue if the original 1966-68 Dutch TV series bore any homosexual connotation or not because first I was not born yet, second the 60's was a conservative period that only one or two public media had such guts to manifest this human relationship.
Roald Dahl came into my mind when I was watching it because of the humour, the caricatured characters i.e. the Scrooge landlord, the eccentric scientist, the mysterious hairdresser etc and also the multi-faceted neighbourhood setting, they also appear from time to time in RD's stories. His profound meaning stories in general take place in ordinary living, trivial episodes of everyday life which are real and close to every one. And this is happening in this musical tale. I do believe that if RD is still alive, he might include a gay teenager in one of his stories and portray him or her in a light and humane tone.
Frolic and carefree it appears to be with the circus, the colorful outfit, joyful songs and merry dances, exotic Greek customs, (By the way, when it comes to "Greek", the West always quotes "Zorbas", here is one example, the successful "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" is another. However, there are myriads representations of "Greek" like "Troy", Greek gods, mythology blah blah blah. "Zorbas" may equate to common Greek people but it's overused, ah, kind of stale now. Nikos Kazantzakis might feel fed up too. ^-^ ), it is also rich in serious ideas. The inventor is trying to make a pill which converts people from evil to good, it's a big life issue, we all want "good" but how good is good and what is good? I just wonder why the scientist does not give the pill to Gerrit the burglar to try. He might totally break himself away from the stealing habit. Nature and nurture is another, Gerrit was raised by his grandpa, Opa to be a dexterous burglar in Oliver Twist like context, perhaps by nature he is a good boy as he promises not to steal so Nurse Klivia allows his stay. The Dutch open-mindedness is dominant throughout the film as Klivia and the neighbourhood (but Boordevol) do accept all kinds of the "weird" people in her nurse house and also foreigners like the Greeks who live nearby.
When Boordevol puts the sign board "Boordevol Rusthuis" (rest house) outside his house, it is so clear that his house is a sinister "No. 13" of that street, symbolically his house is a house of bad luck, evil. Funny handling. When the ending credit roller is running, a welcome reception to the then Princess Beatrix (in the 60's), the current Dutch Queen Regnant of the Oranje Nassau is in progress, she equals to the national recognition and acceptance to the work of the "Rest house", clever and heart-warming.
The small musical film though doesn't draw blockbuster attention like those of Chicago, Evita or even the good oldie My Fair Lady, it's a dainty gumdrop on the first day of my summer break. A sheer sweet fun for family viewing, don't let the gays and lesbians grab the entire joy and pleasure, it's rightly for every one. (Why a homo film????)
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