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De leeuw van Vlaanderen (1985)

A tale centered on the Battle of the Golden Spurs in 1302 where the Flemish rank and file won a major victory over the glorious French knights.

Director:

Hugo Claus

Writers:

Hugo Claus, Hendrik Conscience (novel)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Frank Aendenboom ... Robrecht van Bethune
Bert André Bert André ... Eremiet (I)
Piet Balfoort Piet Balfoort
Theu Boermans Theu Boermans ... Jacques de Chatillon, comte de Leuze
Chris Boni Chris Boni ... Moeder Breydel
Hans Boskamp Hans Boskamp ... St.Pol
Ronnie Commissaris Ronnie Commissaris ... Jan van Renesse
Jules Croiset Jules Croiset ... Robert d'Artois
Bart Dauwe Bart Dauwe
Jo De Meyere ... Bauden de Vos
Hans De Munter Hans De Munter ... Adolf van Nieuwland (as Hans de Munter)
Vic de Wachter ... Jan van Namen
Ilma De witte Ilma De witte ... Zwarte Hertogin
Jan Decleir ... Jan Breydel
Karel Deruwe Karel Deruwe
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Storyline

A tale centered on the Battle of the Golden Spurs in 1302 where the Flemish rank and file won a major victory over the glorious French knights.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

War | Drama

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Did You Know?

Goofs

The eyes of a dead French knight follow the pitbull in front of him. See more »

Alternate Versions

The restored and DVD version is slightly different than the earlier cinema and TV versions: The close shot in which Robrecht van Bethune decapitates De Chatillon with his sword, has been cut down with a couple of frames in the restored and DVD version. In the earlier releases you could clearly see that it was a dummy head being chopped off. See more »

User Reviews

 
Our pride ruined.
20 July 2004 | by PeterKurten911See all my reviews

I'll probably have to explain my comment summary a little for those people not living in Flanders, i'd say over 99.9 % of mankind. The so-called Battle of the Golden Spurs, dated the 11th of June 1302, was one of the armed conflicts between the king of France and his landlord, the Count of Flanders. Discussing the principles of early 14th-century feudalism at length would take us too far : let's just state that at numerous occasions, both parties would stress respectively their power & independence on the edge of a sword.

19th century novelist Hendrik Conscience turned this battle into a symbol of oppression of the Flemish people, telling a heroic and passionate story how the nobility & craftsmen from all over the land joined forces against twice as many opponents, simply stating : if we each kill two of them, there is no problem to speak of. Thanks to their courage, the muddy Groeningenkouter stream which hindered the French cavalry enormously & the mystical yet inspiring appearance of the captured nobleman Robert de Bethune as a knight dressed in golden armour, Flanders triumphed. (I will save you all that happened before, it's basically more patriotic heroism and more bloodshed in a black versus white portrayal that makes "the Patriot" look subtle.)

Conscience was one of the founding fathers of the so-called Flemish movement, pleading for recognition and respect for the Flemish language & culture in a Belgium that was dominated by French. Now, effective nationalism needs a heroic tale, and besides a short period of kicking the Spanish invaders, there was little to choose from. It is what you get when you are part of various empires for seven hundred years. In that perspective, De Leeuw van Vlaenderen is quite enjoyable, plus it kills a few hours.

Now, about the movie. It is very ambitious. It has Jan Decleir, our best actor ever in one of his best roles ever(as popular hero & resistance leader Jan Breydel - for the Americans : he always has that sarcastic Jack Nicholson thing going )a unique amount of genuine medieval locations & the best ... whatever. It does not have any French dialogue, while it's the second language in these parts for Christ's sake, and in either case we have very skilled actors in the French part of the country. It does not have great views; the historical settings are so tied up inside modern city centers the camera wringles itself to keep the cars out, though probably spotted some nevertheless. It does not have decent special effects, even for the mid-eighties, simultaneously with all that Friday the 13th-like gore : maybe arrows don't give up much blood in some places of the human body, but swords surely do. The acting feels rather artificial. And most of all, you cannot fake 90.000 men fighting a ferocious battle with about 1000 clowns running around on a field, leaving 5 yards minimum in between when not fighting or being dead. The shortage of manpower & effects screwing up the battle really screws up any credit one would have been willing to give the rest of the film. And if even Conscience did not consider the golden knight equals divine intervention in an empty harness to be credible, why should we ?

All together : if i might have 150 million dollars and some SFX crews to do a faithful adaption with some disembowlings this time.


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Details

Country:

Belgium | Netherlands

Language:

Dutch

Release Date:

14 March 1985 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Lav od Flandrije See more »

Filming Locations:

Beersel, Belgium See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

BEF65,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
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