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Character (1997)

Karakter (original title)
Jacob Katadreuffe lives mute with his mother, has no contact with his father who only works against him and wants to become a lawyer, at all costs.

Director:

Mike van Diem

Writers:

Ferdinand Bordewijk (short story "Dreverhaven en Katadreuffe" and novel "Karakter") (as F. Bordewijk), Laurens Geels (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 17 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jan Decleir ... Dreverhaven
Fedja van Huêt ... Katadreuffe
Betty Schuurman Betty Schuurman ... Joba
Tamar van den Dop Tamar van den Dop ... Lorna Te George
Victor Löw ... De Gankelaar
Hans Kesting Hans Kesting ... Jan Maan
Lou Landré ... Rentenstein
Bernard Droog Bernard Droog ... Stroomkoning
Frans Vorstman Frans Vorstman ... Inspecteur de Bree
Fred Goessens Fred Goessens ... Schuwagt
Jasper Gottlieb Jasper Gottlieb ... Jacob 6 jaar
Marius Gottlieb Marius Gottlieb ... Jacob 6 jaar
Pavlik Jansen op de Haar Pavlik Jansen op de Haar ... Jacob 12 jaar
Marisa Van Eyle Marisa Van Eyle ... Jiffrouw Sibculo
Wim Van Der Grijn Wim Van Der Grijn ... 2e Inspecteur
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Storyline

In the 20's, in Netherlands, Jacob Willem Katadreuffe has just concluded the law school and has an argument with the High Court Enforcement Officer Dreverhaven at his office. Katadreuffe leaves the place covered in blood. On the next morning, he is arrested by the police for the murder of Dreverhaven. He claims that he is innocent and discloses the story of his life to the Chief of Police. His mother Joba was the maid at Dreverhaven. One night, she is raped by him and a couple of weeks later she learns that she is pregnant. Dreverhaven proposes to marry her but Joba quits her job and leaves his house. Along the years, Katadreuffe is bullied at school and called bastard by his mates and his mother never talks to him. One day, he is involved by other kids in a theft of bread and arrested by the police. When he calls his biological father to help him, Dreverhaven tells the police that he does not know who Katadreuffe is. The boy is intelligent and learns English reading a superseded and ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based on the novel 'Karakter' and the short story 'Dreverhaven and Katadreuffe' by Dutch writer F. Bordewijk (1884-1965). Bordewijk had always wanted to write a story about a feud between father and a son, which finally became a collection of short stories called 'Dreverhaven en Katadreuffe'. The novel 'Karakter' was released 10 years later, out of Bordewijk's desire to expand the story and the characters. See more »

Goofs

In one of the street scenes, you can see an extra in modern outfit and with no headwear on. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Jacob Katadreuffe: I came to tell you. Today I have been sworn in as a lawyer. You must be sorry but I am sworn in and this is the last time I'll come here. Farewell for ever. You no longer exist for me.
Dreverhaven: Congratulations.
Jacob Katadreuffe: You congratulate me? I can't take your hand. The hand of someone who always opposed me.
Dreverhaven: Or helped.
[pause]
Dreverhaven: Or helped.
See more »

User Reviews

 
Needy of Fatherly Love
1 February 2016 | by claudio_carvalhoSee all my reviews

In the 20's, in Netherlands, Jacob Willem Katadreuffe (Fedja van Huêt) has just concluded the law school and has an argument with the High Court Enforcement Officer Dreverhaven (Jan Decleir) at his office. Katadreuffe leaves the place covered in blood. On the next morning, he is arrested by the police for the murder of Dreverhaven. He claims that he is innocent and discloses the story of his life to the Chief of Police.

His mother Joba (Betty Schuurman) was the maid at Dreverhaven. One night, she is raped by him and a couple of weeks later she learns that she is pregnant. Dreverhaven proposes to marry her but Joba quits her job and leaves his house. Along the years, Katadreuffe is bullied at school and called bastard by his mates and his mother never talks to him. One day, he is involved by other kids in a theft of bread and arrested by the police. When he calls his biological father to help him, Dreverhaven tells the police that he does not know who Katadreuffe is. The boy is intelligent and learns English reading a superseded and incomplete edition of encyclopedia that was left behind by the previous tenants of his apartment. Katadreuffe is also ambitious and asks for a job in a law office, where he becomes the protégé of his mentor De Gankelaar (Victor Löw). Soon he falls in unrequited love with the secretary Lorna Te George Victor (Tamar van den Dop). Along the years, Dreverhaven uses his power to harm him. When he concluded his course, he decides to pay a visit to Dreverhaven to tell him that he has wined their dispute. May Katadreuffe have killed Dreverhaven?

"Karakter" is a dark film about a young man needy of fatherly love. The intercourse between his parents is never clear whether it was a rape, as per the trailer, or consensual sex. In the view of Katadreuffe, his mother has always been "mute". But maybe it could be a trauma for her only intercourse since she is a stubborn woman. Dreverhaven is a mysterious and ambiguous character. Is he only cruel or is he trying to harden his son to face the challenges of the brutal society where they live and be a winner? The screenplay is very well-written and keeps the attention of the viewer until the last scene. The cinematography, set decoration and art direction are perfect and bring the viewer to Netherlands in the middle 20's. The cast has magnificent performance highlighting Jan Decleir. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Caráter" ("Character")


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Details

Official Sites:

Sony Pictures Classics

Country:

Netherlands | Belgium

Language:

Dutch | English | German | French

Release Date:

27 March 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Character See more »

Filming Locations:

Netherlands See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$37,268, 29 March 1998

Gross USA:

$623,983

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$623,983
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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