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|Index||16 reviews in total|
Maybe you won't get to experience a full Castro Theater singing along with the star of the movie, but I think you'll enjoy it almost as much as I did! And while it played in the 27th San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, it isn't really a Gay film. It's just a movie that has a special appeal to a Gay audience. I doubt that most of the audience speaks Dutch. I doubt that most of the audience had ever heard any of the songs. I had no idea that this movie had its origins in a long lost '60s Dutch TV series. None of this mattered. The movie was silly and just plain fun. The characters burst out in song and start dancing. There were bits and pieces that reminded me of '60s American musical and others that reminded me of British sit-coms. There were heroes and villains. There is growth and change. The Dutch Queen even comes to visit. Yes Nurse, No Nurse could never have been made in the US. And that's a good thing.
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????)
Not only did I have more fun watching this DVD than any film, but I did
something I never did before--I ended up watching the movie again that
very same night! I was utterly charmed by this wonderful Dutch
musical-comedy and anticipate that I will probably see it again a few
more times--it's THAT good! I think a lot of the reason I loved the
movie so much was that while bits and pieces of the film reminded me of
other films, overall it was so unique and quirky that it's got to be
one of the most original films out there. In addition, when I heard the
songs, I couldn't help but swing in rhythm to the bouncy and adorable
music! Despite not knowing Dutch and relying on subtitles, I can't
think of ANY musical that I enjoyed more because the songs are that
catchy and kooky. They all have a charming old fashioned style with
wonderfully funny lyrics.
The film itself has an early to mid-1960s look to it and although I noticed in one of the reviews that this movie was based on a TV series, the film looks even more like a film of a play in style. Plus, the sets look very fake, but I don't mean that in a bad way--more like an idealized and perfect world that you know can't exist but you really wish it did! Apart from great music, the film has a wonderful ensemble cast. The standout character is Mr. Boordevol who is a lot like a combination of Sam the Eagle (from The Muppets) and a crazed version of the AFLAC duck! He must have had a wonderful time playing such an outlandish character--and his voice was like something out of a cartoon! Other standout performers were Jet, an incredibly cute and shy young lady who is in love with Garrit, Garrit, a reformed burglar who has a wonderful voice, the Engineer (he has no name--and is just called "Engineer" throughout the film) as well as many, many others.
A word of note to parents--This movie was released by Wolfe Video--a Gay movie distributor. While there are two gay main characters, I really didn't see this as a gay film, per se, but a film about many people--just two of which are gay. And, unless you are ultraconservative, I doubt if you would be offended or mind if your kids watch the film. I am a pretty conservative person myself, but really liked ALL the characters and let my teenager see the film--in fact, I nagged her until she watched it with me!
By the way, it took me three viewings to realize that the plot of this film is a slight reworking of Seuss' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE Christmas! Seriously!!
Today the DVD version of the movie was released in Holland and as a big
I've just run through the DVD.
A simple, yet effective story line combined with the outstanding music and strong character play makes this an excellent movie for children.
A funny trivia about the movie is, that the movie almost had to be canceled, because the Red Cross organization was not happy with the use of the red cross on the clothing of the main character, Zuster Klivia. Luckily this dispute could be settled and you can see the Zuster with a retouched blue cross cap.
"Ja Zuster, Nee Zuster" originally was a series that ran in the mid sixties in Holland. It depended heavily on the excellent songs and certainly not on intriguing story lines. Because film tapes were expensive in the 60's, other material was recorded over it and for a long time all film material was believed to be lost. Yet in recent years some of the original material was rediscovered.
From this original material 15 songs were selected and added as a bonus to this DVD, making this DVD also a must have for older generations.
This truly unique, truly wacky musical is something only European cinema
could produce. From the Busby Berkeley-style production number in the
opening credits to the 50's beefcake inspired pigeon feeding song (take THAT
Mary Poppins bird lady), this musical gleefully totters along the line
between silly and salacious with the occasional good-natured stumble into
John Waters territory (One of the songs even mentions Baltimore)
This movie is NOT for everyone. However, if you are familiar with the vernacular of the big budget musical, if you liked the zany sensibility of Little Shop of Horrors, if you can enjoy a movie where the only explosion occurs off camera (a tribute to You Can't Take it With You?) then this may just be the film for you.
Only two years, at the end of the sixties, Dutch national tv featured the tv-series Ja zuster, Nee zuster. Intended as a children's programme, writer Annie MG Schmidt added so much refinement to the script that adults (parents or not) were equally keen to watch the adventures of the tenants in a nursing home. Following some misplaced economies, most of the series was not kept for future generations. All this added to the myth of Ja zuster, Nee zuster, a myth that was not entirely shared by Annie Schmidt herself. (BTW The brilliant combination with composer Harry Bannink produced a number of songs, that are still being sung today, 35 years later.) On one hand the movie closely resembles the original tv-series. The characters are similar, and with great care the songs have been re-styled and visualised. The story line has been adapted, hence the greater emphasis on some characters. Again, the movie is full of innuendo, which needs not restrain anyone from viewing. Nowhere it is vulgar. The visualization is brilliant, as are the choreographies. The cast is very well composed, and all characters are played in a very natural way. This might be the first movie in all my life I will go and see more than once in the cinema, before acquiring the DVD for home viewing. Needless to say that this movie deserves the highest acclaim and recommendations.
This is a remake of an old tv series from the sixties which was very popular in Holland. The songs are classic and everybody knows them so everything could go wrong with this movie. Instead the film is a wonderful delight a tribute to the original. It's over the top, sometimes a bit camp but so funny! Go and see it in the cinema; the 'big' musical need it!
It's kind of funny, in America and other countries this movie is very
popular by homosexual people (the DVD release there even has a pink
cover), while in The Netherlands this movie is regarded as a children's
movie based on a '60's almost entirely lost (tapes were too expensive
in the '60's for the Dutch broadcasting stations that other material
was recorded over the original tapes.) TV-series that was made for the
This movie is made in the same style as those campy, over-the-top American musical movies such as "Singin' in the Rain" and "An American in Paris". So fans of those types of movies will already be delighted by this movie. Further more this movie also reminded me of those old MGM comedies from the '30's and '40's.I have to admit that I'm not really a big fan of musicals. Why? Because normally a musical movie features about maybe 2 good songs and the rest is absolute fodder. I however enjoyed every musical number in "Ja zuster, nee zuster", not only because most songs are very well known old sing-along-songs written by Annie M.G. Schmidt and composer Harry Bannink but also because they have a very high fun-level. The musical numbers are so ridiculously over-the-top that they become fun to listen to and definitely watch at.
The story really isn't the most essential part of the movie. This is one of those movies that really don't need a story at all. This movie is all about the atmosphere and the characters that are in it. The typical '60's atmosphere this movie is set in is truly notable in the houses and their interiors and the characters are highly fun. Normally Dutch movies have the tendency to put as many as possible famous Dutch names in a movie as possible. The cast of "Ja zuster, nee zuster" mainly consists out of fairly unknown actors (with the exception of Loes Luca, Paul de Leeuw and some actors in small cameo roles) which I absolutely applaud.
Especially to you Americans, don't let the pink movie cover scare you off! I can assure you as a straight adult male person that this movie is good, clean, entertaining fun for the entire family.
I grew up with Ja Zuster Nee Zuster in the sixties in the Netherlands and to this day I still whistle many of the tunes from this brilliant children's program that aired '67/'68. The producers could have pumped in some extra money and 'hired' the Dam Square for their dance numbers, but they decided to keep it '67-campy and filmed it on a back lot. Many tongue-in-cheek references to that era: on the TV we see the baptism of Prince Willem Alexander, watch 'het Dafje' driving by, the winking picture of then Queen Juliana. The actors are acceptable, but I reminisce about the original performances by Leen Jongewaard, Hetty Blok and Wim Sonneveld. The current 'Nurse Klivia' does a mediocre 'Groningen' accent and mixes it with an Amsterdam accent. Hetty would cringe... . And yes, Annie M.G. Schmidt did write those lyrics to 'Fuchsia' on purpose. A final word: Please, please a P.C. Hooft Award for Annie. Posthumously, but NOW!
My husband's Dutch, but darned if I can speak the language. Still... I
came out of the movie a week ago, and I'm still singing "Niet op de
stollen staan / Ja zuester, nee zuester; niet met de deur slam / Ja
zuster, nee zuster" (sp?). And HE doesn't sing...yet I keep catching
him singing the Opa song. I keep thinking of the twisp and giggling.
The film is very, very, totally very dutch in wonderful ways. If you like some of the best comic Indian films of the 60's, this has some of the same charm, too. The cinematography and physical comedy is as gently goofy as the story and characters, and the actors are charming.
A note to the guy who left after 40 minutes...Boordevol starts out one-note but goes through...changes. Too bad you missed them.
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