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The film "Den Uyl en de affaire Lockheed" was released last year, and so it is surprising that this is the first review, in particular since there are lots of Dutch video addicts active on the database. Perhaps the film fails to target a susceptible audience. On the one hand, den Uyl was the Dutch equivalent of progressive politics, similar to Carter, Brandt, Wilson, Palme, Kreisky and Mitterrand. On the other hand, the film theme is the position of the royal family. Neither left-wing adherents nor royalists will find much pleasure in the narrated events. Probably the film is mainly produced for sentimental and psychological reasons. For the story unfolds in 1976, and most young people, who at the time were deeply impressed by the scandal, have reached the age of reflection. In another 30 years they will have passed away, and with them the living memory of a loved politician. Indeed these sentiments are addressed well, since the actors manage to grasp the personalities of the main characters, in particular Joop den Uyl (Joop Keesmaat). The make-up, body language and word usage all contribute to an authentic appearance. The scenes are recorded on the original locations (parliament, Catshuis, royal palaces). The scandal is probably significant for two reasons: (1) it is shocking that a prince, the earthly ruler and official primary representative of the Netherlands, gave in to corruption. (2) It could have meant the end of the Dutch royal house. Since at the time the left-wing government was dominated by the socialists, who are principally republicans, the second possibility was not unlikely. The corruption, as you may remember, originated from Lockheed, the builder of the Orion planes, that were of interest to the Dutch army. However, the criminal prosecution was never started, since in all countries the ruling elite is above the law (also in a hierarchical sense). The prince was merely forced to abandon most of his public and representative duties and positions. In fact the leaders of the socialist party valued the royal house because of its binding qualities. Den Uyl himself had an excellent relation with the Queen Juliana. Probably a majority of the people appreciated the royal family (more so than today, I guess). These social relations are all elaborated on in the various dialogs and meetings in the film. We attend the cabinet meetings, the meetings of the socialist ministers, and the discussions with the members of the royal house. It is admittedly intriguing to watch the path towards a solution based on consensus. However, the real power struggle at the time did not concern the constitutional system, but the economic system. There were so much political fights, which were of a higher importance. In my view this film (actually a TV series of more than two hours duration) is recommendable, but also a missed chance to show the true contemporary battles. If you are interested in social conflicts, you might consider seeing my other reviews.
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