Skip to main content

HOW TO SURVIVE A BROKEN HEART

Netherlands, 1991 (MIFF 1991)

Director: Paul Ruven

This low-budget film, with English and Dutch dialogue, concerns a group of lovesick losers in a very unglamorous Amsterdam. Their 'hardboiled but tragicomic adventures' lend the film its raffish sense of humour and attractive characters, all neatly etched by director Paul Ruven.

The underworld of Ruven's movie is one of gritty, on-the-edge survival. No welfare, no savings, no-one to fall back on. Temporary jobs, clever tricks, small hustles, anything to get by. And - not that they'd admit it - they're all looking for love.

The hero is D.C., who hasn't recovered from the fact that his girl has left him. He participates in 'chicken races', in which cars are driven fast on the wrong side of the road; some of the so-called races are rigged, Others characters include D.C.'s friend, Clay; Gina, a pregnant taxi driver whose lover, Frank, wants no more to do with her, and Giro, a Russian who lives in his car.

The plot is amusingly divided into chapter headings based on an entirely new set of Ten Commandments, most of them obscene. One of the cleaner instructions reads "Thou shalt not desperately lose thyself in pretending to be a hero of a new love affair".

Jan Wich's black and white lensing is sharp, and the film is amusing and off-beat, featuring amongst its cast Alejandro Agresti, the ex-patriot Argentinian director of last year's Festival attraction Secret Wedding.

See also...

Zap

The TV is talking and it's not happy! ... Via pithy pastiches of every imaginable TV genre, from soaps and Oprah-style talk shows, to news, gardening and the ubiquitious music-video, Paul Ruven (How ... More »

Helden (Heroes)

Boegel parodies the hero by imitating Bowie. His appearance evokes the image of the pop star which he clearly is not. A woman's fate is ... projected behind him. As the number progresses, more and ... More »

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

Scripted by director Verhoeff and Jean van de Velde from an ironic, satirical bestseller, this is a formally adventurous gamble that has paid off. Essentially a study of life in an apartment block in ... More »

Wimshurst's Electrostatic Generator

A man is called to his grandmother's deathbed. As he waits for her to die, he recalls his youth: electrostatic generators were his best friends. ... More »

Big Charles Small Charles

A dramatised version of the Hans Andersen tale about Charles, the crafty poor peasant, and how he revenged himself on Charles, the greedy rich peasant. ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director