Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Great artists are rubbish at business.

As a truism, this is deeply flawed, but let’s not worry about that, because Anne (Anneke Blok) is a Dutch actress whose passion for the theatre, good living, parties, alcohol and sex has bankrupted her. Suddenly the tax men are demanding that she sell her boat house to pay them what she owes.

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She hires an accountant, Jacob (Jacob Derwig), to get her out of jail, while, at the same time, refusing to change her life for a duller, more frugal alternative, or listen to a word he says. She is self indulgent, spoilt, emotionally dishonest, expecting everyone to fall under the spell of her charm, in denial about everything and still secretly in love with her estranged husband who lives with a girl half his age.

Jacob is her diametrical opposite. Epitomising the stereotype of his profession, he is diligent, serious mined, numerically astute, socially inept and sexually unimaginative. He folds his clothes neatly before going to bed. What do you do with a man like this? Make him co-star of what is euphemistically called a comedy? Or give him an adding machine, a box of receipts and a mobile phone, with access to luvviedom by way of invites to back stage piss ups?

There are sub plots that nudge the nerves, but nothing too painful. It’s all about Anne. Middle age, wherever it begins or ends, is a cruel mistress. Blok rather brilliantly exposes the least attractive aspects of its deceptive nature, especially selfishness and pride, which looks pathetic when faced with reality.

Paula van der Oest’s film is reminiscent of novels about novelists. Theatre groupies will adore the incestuous ambience, while those in outer darkness won’t be changing their prejudices about arts and farts in a hurry. If there is personal tragedy, hidden beneath the clown face, is it more poignant for being distorted by fame?

Reviewed on: 19 Jun 2008
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Famous Dutch actress faces bankruptcy by hiring an accountant and giving another party.

Director: Paula van der Oest

Writer: Paula van der Oest

Starring: Anneke Blok, Jacob Derwig, Olga Zuiderhoek, Rifka Lodeizen, Thomas Cammaet, Gits Scholten van Aschat, Waldemar Torenstra, Jara Lucieer, Ria Marks

Year: 2007

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: Netherlands


EIFF 2008

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