Wolfsbergen

As in her sophomore feature, "Guernsey," one person's apparently inexplicable decision forces self-questioning among others. Cleanly composed in widescreen, and pitched somewhere between low-key drama and very Dutch black comedy, the film is initially difficult but quietly rewarding in the long run.

With:
With: Jan Declair, Catherine ten Bruggencate, Tamar van den Dop, Fedja van Huet, Karina Smulders, Oscar van Woensel, Piet Kamerman, Merel van Houts, Carmen Lith.

As in her sophomore feature, “Guernsey,” one person’s apparently inexplicable decision forces self-questioning among others in Nanouk Leopold’s “Wolfsbergen.” Cleanly composed in widescreen, and pitched somewhere between low-key drama and very Dutch black comedy, the film is initially difficult (especially in regard to characters’ relationships to each other) but quietly rewarding in the long run. However, this is pure fest and Euro cable fare.

Eightysomething Konraad (Piet Kamerman) has calmly decided to join his dead spouse — to the dismay of his only daughter, ultra-organized politician Maria (Catherine ten Bruggencate). Maria’s family is a mess. Her elder daughter, Sabine (Tamar van den Dop), has a lover, Micha (Oscar van Woensel); Sabine’s husband, Onno (Fedja van Huet), has fallen for his sister-in-law, Eva (Karina Smulders), who’s in therapy after an abortion; and Sabine’s all-knowing elder daughter, Haas (Merel van Houts, excellent), is slowly going nuts under the strain of her parents’ marriage. The only one supporting Konraad’s decision is Maria’s husband, dentist Ernst (vet Jan Declair). Delicately sustained tone of buttoned-down craziness sometimes has its dull patches, but the ending has a calm, resurrectional quality.

Wolfsbergen

Netherlands

Production: A Circe Films production, in association with CosmoKino, VPRO Televisie. (International sales: Films Distribution, Paris.) Produced by Stienette Bosklopper. Executive producers, Marion Welmers, Marlies van Ree. Co-producer, Rudolf Mestdagh. Directed, written by Nanouk Leopold.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Richard van Oosterhout; editor, Katharina Wartena; music, Loek Dikker; art director, Elsje de Bruijn; costume designer, Manon Blom. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Forum), Feb. 11, 2007. Running time: 98 MIN.

With: With: Jan Declair, Catherine ten Bruggencate, Tamar van den Dop, Fedja van Huet, Karina Smulders, Oscar van Woensel, Piet Kamerman, Merel van Houts, Carmen Lith.

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