Nederlands - nl-NLEnglish (United Kingdom)


Compilatiefilm Jos Stelling, Nederlands Film Festival 'Gast van het Jaar 2005'.
Montage Rimko Haanstra.
Met dank aan het NFF.

The Illusionist (1984)

thumb_illusionist - get granddad
thumb_illusionist - granddad
thumb_illusionist - illusionist
thumb_illusionist - performance
thumb_illusionist - prair
thumb_illusionist -brother
thumb_illusionist -mirror


In the Illusionist fiction, reality, dream and illusion effortlessly blend together. Everything happens in the imagination of a figure who looks around the corner of a (theatre) dressing room in the beginning of the film. It is the story of two brothers, one of whom pursues his ambitions, while the other is sent to a mental institution by their parents. Lost childhood, failed ambitions, the threat of brain surgery, an unremitting mother, a suicidal father and a rich grandfather define the course of action. The film has no dialogue. Jos Stelling and Freek de Jonge wrote the scenario with Freek's theatre production 'De Tragiek' as a starting point.


Once again a theatre show was the starting point for a new film. Jos Stelling saw ‘De Komiek’ (the comedian) by Freek de Jonge and wished to distil a film out of it, but De Jonge believed that ‘De Tragiek’ (the tragedy) would be better suited. This time Stelling did continue with another artist, who also got the lead opposite Jim van der Woude, who played his brother. What Stelling had feared would happen during a close collaboration with Herman van Veen, happened now during the shooting. Up to and including the final editing there were continuous clashes in the artistic views of Stelling and the Jonge. Freek de Jonge’s company, Big Boy Productions, co-produced the film, leading him to conclude that not only did he have the lead role, but that he also had just as much say in the final product as Jos Stelling.

As in earlier films, The Illusionist hardly contains a story to speak of. Freek de Jonge plays the son of a miller in the country, who is looking for the magic of the theatre and is stuck with his mentally handicapped brother. This leads to a succession of tragicomic scenes with references to themes like missed ambitions and lost youth, round a family full of peculiar personalities.


Main character                                   Freek de Jonge
The Brother                                        Jim van der Woude
The Mother                                         Catrien Wolthuizen
The Father                                          Gerard Thoolen
Granddad                                            Carel Lapere
The Illusionist                                     Craig Eubanks                
His Assistant                                      Gerrie van der Klei


Director                                               Jos Stelling
Script                                                    Freek de Jonge, Jos Stelling
Director of Photography                    Theo van de Sande
Production Designer                         Gert Brinkers
Sound                                                   Bert Flantua
Editor                                                    Rimko Haanstra
Music                                                    Willem Breuker
Executive Producer                            Stanley Hillebrandt


Dutch Film Critics Prize, Dutch Film Festival, 1984

Golden Calf Best Long Feature, Dutch Film Festival, 1984

Golden Calf Best Actor, Gerard Thoolen, Dutch Film Festival, 1984

Audience Award, São Paolo International Film Festival (Brazil), 1985 



Jos Stelling Films B.V. | Springweg 50 | 3511 VS Utrecht | tel. 030 2313789 | fax. 030 2310968 | e-mail: Roos Stelling