Hans Teeuwen plays piano, sings, acts, talks and makes dance steps. The pace is fast, the presentation is vital. The topics addressed are so diverse that there is apparently no correlation between. But looks can be deceiving.
A mixture of pseudo documentary and 'hidden' camera
A class of young drama students are led to believe that they are attending an actual masterclass of famous dutch comedy actor Peer Mascini. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but to the increasing bewilderment of the students, Mascini confronts them with the most bizarre questions and assignments.
As a satire on drama school culture, Masterclass states the obvious. We already know that some drama teachers are pretentious snobs who use silly metaphors and techniques. As for director and actors' intention to mess around with some innocent students: goal achieved. Indeed, the students' progression from shyness to bafflement (some nice close-ups here) could hardly have been acted. On this level, the movie is an interesting study of acting versus spontaneous behavior. But so is any hidden camera show.
The Hans Teeuwen signature is identifiable for those who are familiar with his brilliant performances as a stand up comedian. Some narrative tricks are used effectively here. For example, in the story of the terrible fate of a former student of Mascinis, the repeated mention of the victim's name, Seth Aalbers, gives the story its hilarious effect. Also, the unexpected and prolonged ending sequence is fresh and funny an escape from the theater school for both the actors and the viewers.
As a tribute to Mascini, the movie does a good job. Support actor Pierre Bokma is remarkably low key in his role of the underdog.
With his first movie, Teeuwen has proved that he can successfully transfer some of his theater knowledge to the screen. However, one hopes that he will come across a great script that will allow him to reach the same level of emotional urgency of his theater shows.
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