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Making of Oorlogswinter (2008)

TV Movie  -   -  Documentary  -  30 November 2008 (Netherlands)
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A behind the scenes look at the production of Martin Koolhoven's film, Oorlogswinter.


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Credited cast:
Anneke Blok ...
Martin Koolhoven ...
Els Vandevorst ...
Jan Terlouw ...
Guido van Gennep ...
Niko Post ...
Marco Maas ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Alette Kraan ...


A behind the scenes look at the production of Martin Koolhoven's film, Oorlogswinter.

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Release Date:

30 November 2008 (Netherlands)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1 / (anamorphic)
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References Schindler's List (1993) See more »

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If it's a Dutch movie it must be blue tinted
27 December 2010 | by (Rijswijk, ZH, Netherlands) – See all my reviews

It's ironic that during this making of, everybody is trying to make Oorlogswinter as exciting as possible to a young audience. There are shots of guns, chases, explosions aplenty and even the f-word uttered once by young Brit by Jamie Campbell Bower. Yet the entire thing is sponsored by Omroep Max, the relatively new network specifically for viewers over 50. And while most viewers who fall into that category will probably remember the 1975 TV series based on the same book, that version is mentioned not even once in this documentary.

Director Martin Koolhoven and his young star Martijn Lakemejer receive the most airtime. Big Martin (who seems to model his appearance on Kevin Smith but thankfully not his girth) explains that he always wanted to make a war movie. He's in luck there, since the Dutch film industry is famous for making those. Small Martijn talks about making his film debut and how he learned that he had got the part (at a local snack bar with two friends). Original writer Jan Terlauw chimes in to say that the book is partly based on his own experiences during the war and how much Martijn reminds him of his younger self.

Koolhoven insisted to set the entire film in the snow. Therefore the production had to travel to Lithuania, only to end up producing fake snow for certain scenes over there. Another thing that surprised me was that costume designer Alette Kraan purposely decided to make the costumes look less dated and more 'timeless' in order to make the film look less like a period drama (isn't that what it was supposed to be?). Also, the aforementioned Jamie Campbell Bower compares the action scenes in this film to an Indiana Jones picture. And why not, Indy fought Nazi's as well, didn't he?

But my real pet peeve with Dutch films rears it ugly head whenever we cut from the normally lit behind the scenes footage to a blue tinted scene from the finished picture. Of course I understand that a story set in the past equals muted tones and doubly so when set in wintertime. But it seems to me like every Dutch film made since the Nineties has had the same blue look. It's like they're all developed in the same laboratory where some kind of Blue Meany in charge orders 'more blue!' each and every time. It always reminds me of inexperienced cameramen who forget to reset their lens colors when they move from an inside shoot to the outside. The result: they end up with blue tinted film.

Despite wanting to get his epic winter war movie out of his system, it becomes apparent that the one kind of film Martin Koolhoven really wants to make is a Spaghetti Western. Just check out the Oorlogswinter trivia page if you don't believe me. In this documentary we learn that he cast veteran German actor Dan van Husen because of his early work in said westerns (I bet they were often found talking together between takes). And indeed his next project listed on the IMDb at the time of this writing is 'Martin Koolhoven's Untitled Western Project'. I have a feeling that one will be heavily color corrected as well. Not too much blue I hope, more likely the bright orange and yellow tones every other American blockbuster suffers from these days.

6 out of 10

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