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THE DANCE OF THE HERON

Netherlands, 1966 (MIFF 1967, Programme 37)

Director: Fons Rademakers

This work, made by one of the leading Dutch directors whose films, The Spitting Image and The Knife, have previously been seen at Melbourne Festivals, is an uncompromising study of a thwarted relationship between a neurotic husband and his exuberant, frustrated wife. Thematically, the title invites a comparison between their attitudes and the dancelike courtship of the heron: controlled, erotic and peculiarly grotesque.

The couple have decided to take a brief holiday on an island off the coast of Yugoslavia in a sumptuous, turn-of-the-century villa, but the holiday mood is soon lost and the old battles are resumed. An innocent tourist is encouraged to have an affair with the wife; the husband's mother appears and reveals a disturbing penchant for death games; a band of revellers help further to disrupt the atmosphere. Rademakers has a taste for mystery and symbolism, yet he tells his story with a sense of humour. For instance the prelude is a raucous flashback to the hero's parents in a make-believe romp, and the heroine's relaxation on the rocks of Dubrovnik is in post­card style.

See also...

VILLAGE ON THE RIVER

Netherlands, 1960
The film is set in a small Dutch village at the begining of this century. The central figure of this macabre and Rabelaisian story is the doctor who, when off duty, prefers, the friendship of the loc… More »

THE KNIFE

Netherlands, 1960
This is the third feature film by the Dutch director Fons Rademakers, whose Village By The River was shown at the 1961 Melbourne Film Festival. Told entirely from a child's viewpoint, the theme of th… More »

THE SPITTING IMAGE

Netherlands, 1963
In adolescence ail individuals display a tendency to see themselves as greater and stronger than they may later prove to be under the stress of pain or disillusion. With maturity this superior image,… More »

MAX HAVELAAR

Netherlands/Indonesia, 1976
Eduard Douwes Dekker, the author of 'Max Havelaar', which was published in 1860, was an official in Java during the colonial period of the Dutch East Indies His efforts to expose corruption and colon… More »

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