A surreal black comedy set in a decrepit 1960's housing development. When his mother is drawn into sainthood and the resulting frustrations of his father become too difficult to manage, Thomas, a young boy, becomes obsessed with events on the broadcast news. The liberation of the Belgian Congo is taking place and Thomas becomes Lumumba, one of the contenders as the Congo's new leader. He is encouraged in this escapism by Plagge, the postman who reads all the mail and knows all of the bizzarre and intimate secrets of the eccentric inhabitants of the estate.Written by
Michele Wilkinson, University of Cambridge Language Centre
When you're watching an Alex van Warmerdam movie you know you're to get something interesting and unusual. He always fills his films with a large amount of surrealism but at the same time knows to keep his films accessible and watchable for the main stream public. It might very well be true that this movie is his best known and most appreciated movie.
It's not the type of movie with a clear point or purpose but this doesn't prevent this movie from being simply an enjoyable one to watch. This movie is mostly so fun to watch due to its many eccentric characters and unusual settings.
The entire movie is set in an housing development, that consists out of one long street, without pavement on the road, with a school and butcher shop. At the end of the road there is a bus-stop and an artificial planted small forest. This is their entire world. It's set in the '60's, which of course also gives the movie a certain atmosphere but really this movie could had also easily been set in modern time and it just wouldn't make that much different to the story or any of its characters.
The movie is filled with lots of eccentric characters. Every characters has somethings strange or unusual around him or her, some more extreme than others. It are mostly this quirky little aspects about each and every character that makes this movie such a fine comedy, since its not a movie with an awful lot amount of dialog and its also a rather slow moving movie, with long stretched shots.
The movie features some fine Dutch actors, though it seems sort of weird that the best and best known actors play insignificant supporting roles in the movie, such as Loes Luca and Jacques Commandeur. Jack Wouterse is a well known actor now but back in 1992 no one had ever heard of him and this also was one of his first ever roles. The most fun role is being played by Theo van Gogh, as Fat Willy, who constantly rides on his moped and terrorizes the street with it. I've always liked him better as an actor than as a director, or anything else. Like always, also Alex van Warmerdam plays a role in the movie and so does his wife, actress Annet Malherbe.
It's true that the movie sort of looses it as it heads more and more towards its end but overall this movie remains perfectly watchable throughout- and above all also really fun to watch.
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