Title   Cast   Director   Year Shown  Other Info    Country  Notes 

De dans van de reiger

Netherlands, 1966, 95 min

Shown in 1966


Fons Rademakers
Fons Rademakers
Hugo Claus
Sacha Vierny
Jurriaan Andriessen
Gunnel Lindblom, Jean Dasailly, Van Doude, Mien Duymaer van Twist, Jan Teulings, Kitty Janssen, Manfred de Graaf


prod co
Atlas Film; Rademakers Productie BV
Ministry of Culture, The Hague


Fons Rademakers in person.

A rare, absorbing masterwork by one of the leading Dutch film talents, this film is an uncompromising study of a thwarted relationship between a neurotic husband and his exuberant, frustrated wife. Thematically, the title intimates a comparison between their attitudes and the dancelike courtship of the heron: controlled, erotic and peculiarly grotesque. The couple has decided to take a brief holiday on an island off the coast of Yugoslavia in a sumptuous, turn-of-the-century villa. It is interesting to notice Rademakers' sense of humor in approaching his serious subject-matter. The prelude to the film is a raucous flashback in which the hero discovers his parents in a make-believer romp that is right out of George Feydeau, and the heroine's moments of relaxation in the rocks of Dubrovnik are treated like postcard images. Once the film settles down to business, however, the holiday mood becomes part of the couple's mental battleground. An innocent tourist, tragic-comic and very Dutch, is encouraged to have an affair with the wife. The husband's mother appears and reveals a disturbing penchant for death games, and a band of male revelers help to further erupt the atmosphere with misplaced song and dance. Rademakers tells his story with a sense of mystery and an eye for symbols: the hero, pale and blue-serged, adamantly refusing to yield to the sunlight. The wife, constantly circling, mood-struck, attentive—a past guilt is revealed.

—Albert Johnson