The second movie version, now in color, of Flemish (heimat-)author Ernest Claes' classical novel, titled after the nickname (Dutch 'the White', referring to a blond male) of the main ...
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The second movie version, now in color, of Flemish (heimat-)author Ernest Claes' classical novel, titled after the nickname (Dutch 'the White', referring to a blond male) of the main character. The smart but naughty farmhands son's eternal mischief, pranks and disobedience drive his elders (especially teachers, family and father's grumpy employer, a rich farmer, but also neighbors and even the kind curate whose liturgical server he is) and classmates to despair in a time when a boy's punishment was still inevitable, swift and often severe; thus when his mother catches him skinny dipping she takes all his clothes home, forcing him to a long walk of shame, dreading dad's wrath all the way. This version also stresses the story's social and Flamingant aspects.Written by
De Witte Van Sichem is one of the most popular (perhaps THE most popular) movie ever made in Flanders - Belgium. I'm also quite sure that it's one of the only movies that practically every Dutch speaking Belgian has seen...The movie is rather 'empty' when it comes to plot but it's fun and it gives quite a good portrait of my country around the year 1900. It's based on the work of Ernest Claes who was a famous writer here. This version wasn't the first movie about the character of 'De Witte' ( which the leading character is nick-named due to his white hair ). In 1934, there was a first movie about his adventures and the whole oeuvre of Claes was even filmed into a popular TV-series in which 'de Witte' appears as well. De Witte is a 12 year old brat. And I do mean a real brat...he lies, steals and causes disturbance in his class and family. He's the youngest son of a poor family. The whole neighborhood works almost like slaves for one rich farmer who has it all. Everybody is terrified to death for this farmer except for De Witte. He provokes him doesn't really care about the power the farmer has. The whole movie is set around the rise of socialism and that's like the leading thread running through the movie...the poor men are attracted by the idea of socialism while the Catholic church is desperately trying to bring it down. De Witte finds himself to be in the middle of this but he doesn't care. He prefers to learn about the national history and through the books of Hendrik Conscience.
Though nobody means anything in the international field, this movie is filled with famous Belgian faces. Everybody who ever meant something in Belgian show business appears in this movie. The whole story is set in a rural community thus the dialect is very specific and often difficult to understand ... even though it's your own language !! De Witte was directed by Robbe De Hert. Belgiums most controversial director. At least that's what he thinks of himself. I met him once when he was giving a lecture at my school. Anno 1980, when this film was shot, he was pretty mainstream if you ask me
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