Luxembourg, October 1830. Unrest spreads in the region in the wake of the Belgian Revolution. Fed up with the domination of the Dutch, most of the people want to become Belgian. Those who ...
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Luxembourg, October 1830. Unrest spreads in the region in the wake of the Belgian Revolution. Fed up with the domination of the Dutch, most of the people want to become Belgian. Those who want an independent Luxembourg are few. Among them a town clerk obstinately refuses to accept the Belgian nationality. Considered as a traitor, he is forced to go into exile. A few years later, in 1839, Luxembourg finally becomes independent. Written by
Modest but good historical movie. If you want to know more about Luxembourg history
Between 1800 and 1945 Luxembourg was not an easy place to live in, coveted as it was by three different nations. A possession of Napoleon until 1815, it was declared autonomous at the Congress of Vienna but... defended militarily by the Prussians and ruled by the King of the Netherlands ! Considered a province of the new Belgian state between 1830 and 1839 (the period of time described in the film), it was still not clear before 1867 if Luxembourg, now smaller in size, would not become part of France. Having finally become an independent country, it looked as though it could not be left alone forever since it was occupied twice by the Germans in the twentieth century. Under such circumstances it comes as no surprise that disorder and unrest prevailed for long in the Grand Duchy. Henri Losch, who wrote the book "Der Verräter" (The Traitor), and also plays the village schoolmaster in its filmed adaptation "De falschen Hond", chose as the background of his novel the years 1830-1839, a period as troubled as it is rich in dramatic potentialities. But rather than writing an epic tale about what was more or less the Luxembourg Revolution, he preferred to look at the decade through the small end of the telescope, with his main character, Mätt, the town clerk, playing the role of the uninformed hero discovering the situation simultaneously with the reader. An ordinary man wishing nothing else but to live his professional and family life peacefully, Mätt (just like his motherland) is denied this "privilege" simply because he refuses to take sides at a time when everybody else does. In the 1830s any Luxembourger is indeed expected to choose between the Dutch (the rich in general), the Prussians (those who want strong power) and the Belgians (the supporters of democracy). But, as Mätt obstinately wants to remain neutral, he becomes ostracized, blamed and harassed both by the pro-Dutch mayor and by the Pro-Belgian democracy-seeking villagers. A skillful way for Henri Losch to deal with the History of his country (little known outside Luxembourg) through a particular character within the limited space of a Moselle wine village, with enough ups and downs to make an entertaining book ... and film! In the mid-1980s a trio of film enthusiasts, Menn Bodson, Marc Olinger and Gast Rollinger, got on with the task of making a film out of Losch's book. Not an easy task to produce a period piece in such a tiny country as the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (400,000 inhabitants)! But with the help of the TV channel RTL, they managed to provide both an interesting and watchable feature film. Of course, "De falschen Hond" is no great epic about a country in the midst of a national revolution such as "October" or "Doctor Zhivago", but, to be fair, it does not attempt to. Yes, you could say that there is quite a small number of extras but, after all, the action takes place in a village and logically there are not a MASS of people living there. Right, the music is terrible (though this time there is no excuse) and true, the second part of the movie suffers from a few tedious passages, particularly after Mätt goes into exile. But on the whole, there is good acting, especially from Ânder Jung (famous in Luxemboug for his theater performances), who gives a nuanced interpretation of the unfortunate main character. Moreover the production values (costumes, vehicles, furniture and natural settings) are fine and help the viewer to adhere to the story. Another good point is the well chosen filming locations (several Moselle wine villages, the fortress of Montmédy in France, etc), which bring further feel of authenticity to the whole thing. All in all," De falschen Hond" is a film to be seen, which, although modest in ambition and not without flaws, manages to draw an interesting portrait of a man helplessly caught in the turmoil of History as well as a rare insight into a nation in the making.
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