|The Flying Dutchman (1995)|
The Flying Dutchman is an epic tale in three chapters about the search of a serf for his alleged father: the Flying Dutchman. The original and fairy tale like story is an ode to fantasy and imagination and is set in the times of the Dutch Revolt (16th and 17th century) in Flanders and the Netherlands, in which iconoclasts, the Spanish inquisition and Dutch rebels all play a part.
Gerard Rutten had already made a Dutch film with the title ‘De Vliegende Hollander’, as an ode to the Dutch aviation pioneer Anthony Fokker. Jos Stelling had a wider starting point and focused on the folk story of the man who, on account of his wiked life, is doomed to sail the oceans on a phantom ship without ever reaching a port. Richard Wagner based his famous opera on it, and variations have been made on it in many countries. Stelling, who called in the help of script writer Hans Heesen for the screenplay, placed the events during the Eighty Year’s War and gave it the theme: an ode to the imagination.
The medieval surroundings allowed room for Mariken van Nieumeghen-like scenes round leading actor René Groothof as ‘The Dutchman’, who wants to build a ship to conquer the horizons. However, the presence of the Italian actor Nino Manfredi as the minstrel was almost as prominent. For the music, Stelling hired the famous Italian composer Nicola Piovani. It became a typically colourful Stelling parade of the most diverse, strange personalities and unusual scenes, that, despite the spectacular developments, once again could not satisfy many of the critics. The length was reduced to 135 minutes, but actually the film could have used more space, which became apparent when the londer version was shown as a mini series on television. Once again, Stelling was invited to the competition in Venice, but this time he did not receive an award. Moreover, he had tho watch how the screening and accompanying publicity partly became a Nino Manfredi show. As before with Freek de Jonge, it turned out that he could not control a big star for which he had a great admiration. In the prestigious A Century of European Cinematography, The Flying Dutchman is the only Dutch film mentioned.
The Dutchman René Groothof
Director Jos Stelling
Nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, 1995
Silver Frog Camerimage (Poland), 1996
Mentioned one of the best 100 films of the 20th century in the renowned book: Making Pictures: A Century of European Cinematography, created by IMAGO, the Federation of European Cinematographers.
Nomination Best Film, International Fantasy Film Festival Fantasporto, 1995