×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Mystery of the Sardine

The surrealist elements in Erik van Zuylen's "The Mystery of the Sardine" are initially so quirkily intriguing it seems churlish to question their intent. But their perplexing nature leaves a residue akin to a half-remembered dream uncomfortably analyzed.

With:
With: Victor Low, Renee Fokker, Elske Rotteveel, Casper Smeets, Angelique de Bruijne.

The surrealist elements in Erik van Zuylen’s “The Mystery of the Sardine” are initially so quirkily intriguing it seems churlish to question their intent. But their perplexing nature leaves a residue akin to a half-remembered dream uncomfortably analyzed. Based on a novel by Polish writer/helmer Stefan Themerson (whose avant-garde film “The Adventure of a Good Citizen” makes an early appearance), pic looks at the struggles of an average man to understand why he was the target of a bomb attack. Despite handsome lensing, this little fish story won’t do much swimming outside Dutch waters.

A large black dog with a sardine can around his neck is the unlikely suicide bomber apparently directed against philosophy lecturer Tim (Victor Low), who loses both legs in the blast. Trying to make sense of it, Tim obsessively goes over the period leading up to the attack, but nothing adds up. The mystery deepens when his wife, Vera (Renee Fokker), discovers a freshly painted representation of the attack in a local church. Embellishing the plot are absurdist side characters, notably a disheveled man often seen walking backwards. Tech credits are unassailable.

The Mystery of the Sardine

Netherlands

Production: A Cinemien release (in the Netherlands) of a De Productie, VPRO co-production. (International sales: De Productie, Rotterdam.) Produced by Annemiek van Gorp, Rene Goossens. Directed, written by Erik van Zuylen, based on the novel by Stefan Themerson.

Crew: Camera (color), Maarten Kramer; editor, Lin Friedman; music, Henk Hofstede; production designer, Ben Zuydwijk; costume designer, Elianne van Dorp. Reviewed at Rotterdam Film Festival (Time & Tide), Jan. 27, 2005. Running time: 106 MIN.

With: With: Victor Low, Renee Fokker, Elske Rotteveel, Casper Smeets, Angelique de Bruijne.

More Film

  • Romanian Crime-Thriller 'The Whistlers' Bought for

    Romanian Crime-Thriller 'The Whistlers' Bought for North America

    Magnolia Pictures has bought North American rights to the Romanian crime thriller “The Whistlers” following its premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Written and directed by Corneliu Porumboiu, the film stars Vlad Ivanov, Catrinel Marlon, Rodica Lazar, Antonio Buil, Agustí Villaronga, Sabin Tambrea, Julieta Szonyi and George Pisterneanu. Magnolia is eyeing a theatrical [...]

  • Naomi Scott Talks Rebooting Princess Jasmine

    'Aladdin': Naomi Scott on Why Her Princess Jasmine Needed Nasim Pedrad's New Character

    Call Naomi Scott the queen of the reboot – or at least, the princess. The 26-year-old actress is taking on the role of Princess Jasmine in Disney’s live-action remake of “Aladdin,” but it’s not her first time jumping into a role that’s already been well-established. Audiences may recognize Scott from 2017’s “Power Rangers” update, where [...]

  • Moby Natalie Portman

    Moby Accuses Natalie Portman of Lying as the Two Spar Over Dating Claims

    In what’s become a he said/she said spat in multiple mediums, Moby, the elder statesman of electronic music, is now accusing actress Natalie Portman of lying and pleading to those on social media for his safety as “physical threats from complete strangers” emerge. To recap: this month, Moby released a new book, “Then It All [...]

  • A QUIET PLACE Emily Blunt

    'A Quiet Place' Sequel Moves Ahead Two Months to March 2020

    Paramount Pictures has moved its sequel to “A Quiet Place” ahead by two months from May 15 to March 20, 2020. John Krasinski is returning to direct the still-untitled movie with Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe reprising their roles. Cillian Murphy is joining the cast. “A Quiet Place” grossed $340 million at the [...]

  • Sony Pictures Classics Buys Michael Covino's

    Cannes: Sony Pictures Classics Buys Michael Covino's 'The Climb'

    Sony Pictures Classics has acquired all worldwide rights, excluding France and German-speaking Europe, to Michael Angelo Covino’s buddy comedy “The Climb.” The film premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival and won the Un Certain Regard Heart Prize alongside “A Brother’s Love” on Friday. Covino directed, co-wrote (with Kyle Marvin) [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Heads for Magical $100 Million Opening in North America

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” is heading for at least $100 million in North America during the four-day Memorial Day holiday weekend, early estimates showed Friday. “Aladdin” will likely finish Friday with around $30 million, including $7 million in Thursday night previews. Sony’s launch of horror-thriller “Brightburn” should pull in about $10 million for the holiday weekend and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content