When conditions are right an infamous ice-skating race is held in the north of the Netherlands. The 200 km race must be completed by midnight and everyone who finishes receives a medal. ... See full summary »
Steven de Jong
Willeke van Ammelrooy,
Netherlands, 1938. In a small town in the province of North Brabant called Oss, Johanna wants to change her life and quit the criminal gangs of the town. The harder she tries, the more she is involved.
André van Duren
In 1953, a flood adding to the aftermath of World War II swells the numbers of Dutch emigrants. On a KLM flight to New Zealand, part of a race from London, Frank, who lost his family and colonial estate in the Japanese occupation and Indonesian civil war of Independence, meets some virtual mail order brides. Ada van Holland becomes his lover before confessing she's already married by proxy to gloomy Calvinist Derk. Jewish concentration-camp survivor Esther dodges her engagement for a fashion career and discreetly has her son Bobby adopted by infertile Marjorie, who did everything else right with husband Hans. Over the years, some of their paths cross again, and all of the survivors meet at Frank's funeral.Written by
Although it took me two nights to view this film, I must say I was very satisfied with it at the end. The arc of the story, spanning over 50 years or so really was truly grand. The film touches on the many personal issues and emotions of its central characters, yet maintains a certain distance, careful not to have us rooting for or against certain characters, while showing sweeping historical changes take place in the background.
The cast is top-notch, especially Karina Smulders, who plays Ada Van Holland, a young, unwordly bride-to-be traveling, for the first time, from Holland to New Zealand. There is a natural, non self-consciousness about her performance that is very appealing. The other members of the cast are also very wonderful. Many flawed characters occupy the screen, but no one beyond redemption and forgiveness. The cumulative affect of the storytelling, between flashback and modern day, was, in the end, deeply personal, and awe-inspiring.
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