Kedi (Ceyda Torun over)
Aquarius
The Beguiled
Una mujer fantástica
Jaap van Heusden over In Blue
Self-Clichés

The Deflowering of Eva van End (Slow Crtiticism: De ontmaagding van Eva van End)

The Netherlands, 2013 | Michiel ten Horn
Pamela Biénzobas checks in from Santiago (Chile) to report on The Deflowering of Eva van End, a bitterly comic compendium of Dutch cliché's and simplifications, laughing harshly at a sort of Dutch bestiary.

The first time I ever traveled to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean (ok, not of the world), it was to the Netherlands — for the IFFR, of course. One evening, while discussing the demographical limits of the Dutch language, I heard a funny story: someone told me that when the United States was established, the Founding Fathers voted to decide whether the official language would be English or Dutch, and the former won by just one vote. However, this anecdote seems to be a widespread myth... but regarding German, not Dutch.

My mother tongue being one the most far-reaching in the world, spoken by the vast majority of the continent I come from (and across all of my country's borders), it's hard to imagine the communication barrier it must mean to know that you can only exchange with relatively few people (and just a few of your neighbours) if you don't learn a foreign language, ideally as fluently as a native speaker. Pushing it further: if you don't reach out to the world and do all you can to touch it from your lonesome, yet extremely civilized and privileged position.

Perhaps that could explain the supremacy of political correctness; and maybe a certain inferiority complex rooted in history, regarding all things German, could explain the mistake that wanted Dutch to have almost been today's international language. This horrible simplification is definitely not my interpretation. It's not just a matter of a moral refusal of caricatures: I couldn't even pretend to know the Dutch culture or its clichés well enough to play with stereotypes. But a Dutch person might...

Michiel ten Horn bases his feature-length debut precisely on those clichés and simplifications, laughing harshly at a sort of Dutch bestiary. The bitterish comedy The Deflowering of Eva van End (De ontmaagding van Eva van End), programmed in the Bright Future section, follows a certain tradition that could draw a circle around such diverse films as Teorema by Pier Paolo Pasolini, Dry Cleaning (Nettoyage à sec) by Anne Fontaine and François Ozon's recent In the House (Dans la maison). In all of them, a mysterious and blondish youngster (ok, Terence Stamp was far from blond but he could fit the role with his deep blue eyes) shatters a family's apparent stability by one way or another seducing its members.

Here the incarnation of utter perfection — in the Van End family's eyes — is, moreover, German. Evert (who works in a frikandel factory) and Etty (a bitter housewife) are about to celebrate their Silver Wedding. Model-son Erwin, the quintessence of political correctness, is about to move out of the house at 21, to live with his girlfriend Mardou. And the loud, self-centered teenager (and frikandel-eating champion) Manuel is permanently making noise and drawing attention to himself. So no one even hears when graceless, shy Eva — as uncool as a teenager can get — announces the arrival of a German exchange student, as part of a school program.

Why would a group of young Teutons spend two weeks with Dutch families, anyways? To practice their English, of course! But that's not all Veit is going to practice with the Van Ends. He will become a reflection of all they aspire to in life, especially in the three adults. Etty finds understanding, recognition, and somehow the permission to think of herself and try to go spiritual. Evert sees a possible higher sense to his comfortable life in charity. Acne-ridden Erwin, however, becomes aware of his physical imperfection and loses his fragile balance. Manuel is drowning in raging jealousy now that Veit has all the attention he used to get from the school bimbos. And Eva... where and who is Eva? She just might be the only one to acquire some lucidity in the desire Veit arouses.

Each character functions pretty much as an archetype of different aspects of the Dutch caricature, and Veit is the cliché not of Germans but of what the Dutch seem to see in Germans. The film doesn't care about giving its characters a personality. It doesn't need to. On the contrary, the clichés must be as overt as possible to make fun of them. And ultimately, it works more as an accumulation of funny situations and portraits than as a developing story.

One aspect that is dealt with extensively is the good-conscious disposition towards racial prejudice and kind-hearted simplification. When Evert goes on his charity frenzy to help young Ngiri, it's his black colleague who mocks his naivety, warning him that Africans are well-known con artists. What's 'Africa' anyways? Ngiri comes from Africa, more specifically from the slums. Of which city, in which country? What difference would that make?

And tellingly, when kind, smart and vegetarian Erwin totally loses it, after he eats his Happy Meal, he makes the same racist joke that he had recently censored his younger brother for. And it all seems to be liberating.

In the closing scene (out of respect for people who may be very touchy about this: SPOILER ALERT), everything seems to be coming back to normal again, after the near-catastrophe operated some slight salutary changes. The Van Ends celebrate their Silver Wedding in their lovely back yard. They even manage to realize that Veit is a "braggart", and dare to kindly joke about it. Among the guests, two girls stand by the swimming pool in their bathing suits. They appear to be almost anorexic, and their awkward, self-conscious attitude is strikingly reminiscent of some of Rineke Dijkstra's beach portraits. The funny thing is that Dijkstra actually didn't take those photographs in the Netherlands.

In the end, clichés aren't really about how people are, but about how people see. And this is just one subjective impression of a Dutch filmmaker's social-self-portrait, as seen from the other side of the world.

Pamela Biénzobas is a Chilean freelance critic and journalist based in Paris. She is a co-founder of Revista de Cine Mabuse.cl.



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The Deflowering of Eva van End (Slow Crtiticism: De ontmaagding van Eva van End)

Filmkrant #351, February 2013

Slow Criticism 2013

Titelindex


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D

D'Ardennen
D.O.A.P. (DEATH OF A PRESIDENT)
DA MO FANG
THE DA VINCI CODE
DAAR IN DAT LAND (V TOJ STRANJE)
DADDY AND PAPA
DADDY DAY CARE
Daddy's Home
DAENS
Een dag in 't jaar (Margot Schaap over)
DE DAG VAN DE WANHOOP
DAGEN ZONDER LIEF
Daglicht
THE DAILY NATION
DAINIPPONJIN
DAKOTA
DAL DER ZUCHTEN
DALECARLIANS
DAM STREET
DAMAGE
DAMIAAN
THE DAMNED
Damsels in Distress
DAN IN REAL LIFE
Dance Academy: de film
DANCE FLICK
DANCE ME TO MY SONG
DANCE OF DUST (RAKHS-E-KHAK)
DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES
DANCE OF THE WIND
DANCE WITH ME
Dancer
DANCER IN THE DARK
THE DANCER UPSTAIRS
Dancing Arabs
DANCING DREAMS
DANGER: DIABOLIK
THE DANGEROUS LIVES OF ALTAR BOYS
A Dangerous Method
DANGEROUS MINDS
The Danish Girl
Danny Collins
Dans la maison
DANS LA VIE
DANS VOOR HET LEVEN
DANS, GROZNY DANS (THE DAMNED AND THE SACRED)
LA DANSE — LE BALLET DE L'OPÉRA DE PARIS
Dansen op de vulkaan
La danseuse
La danseuse (Stéphanie Di Giusto en Soko over)
DANTE'S PEAK
DARATT
DAREDEVIL
THE DARJEELING LIMITED
THE DARK
DARK BLUE
DARK CITY
DARK HORSE
The Dark Horse (James Napier Robertson over)
DARK IS RISING
THE DARK KNIGHT
The Dark Knight Rises
Dark Places
Dark Skies
The Dark Tower
DARK WATER
DARK WATER
DARKDRIVE
The Darkest Hour
DARKNESS
DARKNESS IN TALLINN
DARWIN'S NIGHTMARE
DARWINS VERSTEKELING. BEAGLE, IN HET KIELZOG VAN DARWIN
DATE MOVIE
DATE NIGHT
The Daughter
Daughters of Malakeh
Daughters of the Dust
DAVE
DAWN OF THE DEAD
DAWN OF THE DEAD
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW
THE DAY I BECAME A WOMAN
THE DAY I WILL NEVER FORGET
DAY NIGHT DAY NIGHT
DAY OF THE DEAD
THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL
THE DAY THE SUN TURNED COLD
The Day Will Come
DAYBREAK
DAYBREAKERS
DAYLIGHT
THE DAYS
THE DAYTRIPPERS
Dazed and Confused
DE BATTRE MON COEUR S'EST ARRÊTÉ
DE FORCE AVEC D'AUTRES
De rouille et d'os
DE-LOVELY
Dead Body Welcome
THE DEAD GIRL
DEAD LEAVES
DEAD MAN
THE DEAD MAN 2: RETURN OF THE DEAD MAN
Dead Man Down
DEAD MAN WALKING
DEAD MAN'S SHOES
DEAD PRESIDENTS
Deadfall
Deadly Virtues: Love.Honor.Obey
Deadpool
The Deal
Deal
DEALING AND WHEELING IN SMALL ARMS
DEAR FRANKIE
DEAR JOHN
DEAR WENDY
Dear White People
DEAR ZACHARY: A LETTER TO A SON ABOUT HIS FATHER
DEATH AND THE MAIDEN
DEATH AT A FUNERAL
DEATH BECOMES HER
Death Note
DEATH RACE
DEATH SENTENCE
DEATH TO SMOOCHY
Débarquement immédiat
The Debt
THE DEBT COLLECTOR
IL DECAMERON
DECEPTION
DECK THE HALLS
DECONSTRUCTING HARRY
DEEP BLUE
DEEP BLUE SEA
The Deep Blue Sea
THE DEEP END
Deep End (Terugzien)
DEEP IMPACT
DEEP IN THE WOODS
DEEP RISING
Deepwater Horizon
DEFIANCE
DEFINITELY, MAYBE
The Deflowering of Eva van End (Slow Crtiticism: De ontmaagding van Eva van End)
Dégradé
DEINING
DÉJÀ VU
Dekalog
DEKALOOG
DELBARAN
La délicatesse
DÉLITS FLAGRANTS
Deliver Us From Evil
DELIVER US FROM EVIL
DELIVER US FROM EVIL
THE DELIVERY
The Delivery Guy (Raznoschik)
Delivery Man
DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE
DELTA
DEMAIN DES L'AUBE
Demain tout commence
DEMOLITIAN MAN
Demolition (Jean-Marc Vallée over)
DEMON KNIGHT
Denial
DENISE CALLS UP
DENKEND AAN HOLLAND
DENNIS HOPPER: THE DECISIVE MOMENTS
DENNIS P.
DENNIS THE MENACE
THE DEPARTED
DEPARTMENT 36
DEPARTURES
DERECHO DE FAMILIA aka FAMILY LAW
Le dernier coup de marteau
DES HOMMES ET DES DIEUX
The Descendants
THE DESCENT
Desde allá
DESERT FLOWER
IL DESERTO ROSSO
DESI
El Desierto
DESMOND EN HET MOERASMONSTER
Despair
DESPERADO
DESPERATE MEASURES
DESPERATE REMEDIES
DESPERAUX: DE DAPPERE MUIS
DESPICABLE ME
Despicable me 2
Despicable Me 3/Verschrikkelijke Ikke 3
Después de Lucía
LES DESTINÉES SENTIMENTALES
DESTINY TURNS ON THE RADIO
DESTRICTED
Detachment
DETROIT ROCK CITY
DEUCE BIGALOW MALE GIGOLO
DEUCE BIGALOW: AMERICAN GIGOLO
Deux jours, une nuit
DEVIL
The Devil Inside
THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA
DEVIL'S ADVOCATE
The Devil's Double
Devil's Knot
THE DEVIL'S MINER
THE DEVIL'S OWN
THE DEVIL'S REJECTS
DEVILS ON THE DOORSTEP
Dheepan (Jacques Audiard over)
EL DIA DE LA BESTIA
DIABOLIQUE
LA DIABOLIQUES
DIALOGUE AVEC MON JARDINIER
DIALOOGOEFENING NO.1: STAD
DIAMONDS OF THE NIGHT
Diana
Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel
Diary of a Teenage Girl
DIARY OF A TIMES SQUARE THIEF
DIARY OF THE DEAD
DICK
The Dictator
DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE MORGANS
DIE ANOTHER DAY
DIE HARD 4.0
DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE
Die laatste zomer
DIEF!
Diego Star
DIEP
DIFFERENT CINEMA VOLUME 3
DIFFERENT FOR GIRLS
Difret (Zeresenay Mehari over)
Dikkertje Dap
THE DILEMMA
UN DIMANCHE A KIGALI
Het diner
DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS
DINOSAUR
Dior and I
Diplomatie (Volker Schlöndorff over)
DIRTY DANCING 2
DIRTY DIARIES
Dirty Grandpa
DIRTY MIND
DIRTY PRETTY THINGS
DIS-MOI QUE JE RÊVE
THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ALICE CREED
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
Disappearing Landscape
DISASTER MOVIE
DISCLOSURE
DISCO PIGS
THE DISCOVERY OF HEAVEN
LES DISEURS DE VÉRITÉ
DISGRACE
DISNEY'S TARZAN
DISTANCE
La distancia
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN
THE DISTRICT
DISTRICT 9
DISTURBIA
DIVA DOLOROSA
Divergent
The Divergent Series: Allegiant
Divergent Series: Insurgent
The Divide
DIVINE INTERVENTION
DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD
DIVINE TRASH
THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY
Il DIVO
DIVORCING JACK
Django
Django
Django Unchained
DO NOT DISTURB
Do Not Disturb
The Do-Deca-Pentathlon
DOBERMANN
Doctor Strange
DODGEBALL
DOG SOLDIERS
A Dog's Purpose
DOGMA
DOGTOOTH
DOGTOWN AND Z-BOYS
DOGVILLE
DOGVILLE CONFESSIONS
Dokter Pulder zaait papavers
DOKTOR MABUSE, DER SPIELER
IL DOLCE E L'AMARO
Dolfje Weerwolfje
De dolle tweeling
De dolle tweeling 2
De dolle tweeling 3
DOLLS
DOLORES CLAIBORNE
Dom/The House
DOMESTIC DISTURBANCE
DE DOMINEE
DOMINO
The Domino Effect
DOMWEG GELUKKIG
DON
DON
Don Jon
DON'S PLUM
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark
Don't Breathe
DON'T COME KNOCKING
DON'T LOOK BACK
DON'T LOOK NOW
DON'T SAY A WORD
DON'T STOP THE SHOW
DONDERBROEK
DONKEY PUNCH
Donkeyote
DONNIE BRASCO
DONNIE DARKO
IL DONO
DOOD EIND
DOOD IN VENETIË
Doodslag
DOOM
THE DOOM GENERATION
DOOMSDAY
DOOR DE WIND GEJAAGD (EL VIENTO SE LLEVO LO QUE)
DOOR IN THE FLOOR
THE DOORS: WHEN YOU'RE STRANGE
Dope
DOPO MEZZANOTTE
LA DOPPIA ORA
Dorsvloer vol confetti
DOS CRIMINES
Dos disparos
DOSSIER K.
The Double
The Double
DOUBLE JEOPARDY
Double Play (Ernest Dickerson over)
DOUBLE TAKE
DOUBLE TEAM
DOUBLE WHAMMY
DOUBLE YOU STREET
DOUBT
DOUCHES FROIDES
DOUG'S 1E FILM
DOWN
DOWN PERISCOPE
DOWN TO EARTH
DOWN TO YOU
DOWN WITH LOVE
DR. AKAGI
DR. DOLITTLE
DR. DOLITTLE 2
Dr. Seuss' The Lorax
DR. T AND THE WOMAN
DRACULA (1931)
DRACULA 2000
Dracula Untold
DRAG ME TO HELL
DRAGON: THE BRUCE LEE STORY
DRAGONBALL: EVOLUTION
DRAGONFLY
DRAGONHEART
DRAKENHEUVEL
DRAKENJAGERS
DRAMA/MEX
Dream House
DREAMCATCHER
DREAMER: MIJN DROOMPAARD
THE DREAMERS
DREAMING BY NUMBERS
A DREAMSCAPE, GAMBLING IN AMERICA
Dredd 3D
DREI
DE DRIE BESTE DINGEN IN HET LEVEN
Drie dvd's met films van Maya Deren
DE DRIE MUSKETIERS
DE DRIE ROVERS
Dries
DRIFT
Drift
DRIFTING CLOUDS
DRIJFZAND
DRILLBIT TAYLOR
Drinking Buddies
Drive
DRIVE ANGRY 3D
DRIVEN
DRÔLE DE FÉLIX
Droom & daad
DE DROOM VAN DE BEER
DROOMLAND DDR
The Drop
DROP DEAD GORGEOUS
DROP ZONE
DROPOUTS
DROWNING MONA
Drug War
Dubbelspel
THE DUCHESS
DUDE, WHERE IS MY CAR?
DUE AMICI
DUE DATE
THE DUEL PROJECT
DUIMELIJNTJE
The Duke of Burgundy (Maria Rohm over)
THE DUKES OF HAZZARD
Dukhtar
DUMB AND DUMBER
Dumb and Dumber To
DUMB AND DUMBERER: WHEN HARRY MET LLOYD
DUMBLAND
Dummie de Mummie
Dummie de Mummie en de Sfinx van Shakaba
Dummy Jim
DUMPLINGS
Dunderklumpen
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS
Dunkirk
DE DUNNING BROERS
DUNSTON CHECKS IN
DUNYA & DESIE IN MAROKKO
DUPLEX
DUPLICITY
Durak (The Fool)
DUSKA
Dying of the Light
DYING TO GO HOME