Oorlogswinter (Winter in Wartime)

Poster for Oorlogswinter (Winter in Wartime)

Autumn 2011 Features series

Sunday, November 6, 2011 at 4:00pm
Sunday, November 6, 2011 at 7:00pm

Acadia Cinema's Al Whittle Theatre
450 Main Street, Wolfville, NS

Directed by Martin Koolhoven

Screenplay by Mieke de Jong, Martin Koolhoven, and Paul Jan Nelissen

Based on the book by Jan Terlouw

Starring Martijn Lakemeier, Jamie Campbell Bower, and Yorick van Wageningen

Rated NR · 1h 43m
Netherlands / Belgium
Dutch, English, and German

View trailer

Oorlogswinter (Winter in Wartime)

In the wintry Dutch countryside of 1945, the wreckage of a crashed English plane is an irresistible lure to two thirteen-year-old boys from the nearby village. It is a game of adventure when the occupying German soldiers chase Michiel (Martijn Lakemeier) and his best friend Theo (Jessie van Driel) away from the wreck, but the excitement turns scary when Michiel is caught and brought before the local Nazi commander.

Michiel‘s father, Johan van Beusekom (Raymond Thiry) is the town mayor, who tries to maintain neutral relations with the Nazis in hopes of protecting his village and townspeople. Michiel gets off with a warning, but he defiantly considers his cautious father a coward for appeasing the Nazis.

In contrast, Johan‘s brother Ben (Yorick van Wageningen), who arrives for a visit with a mysterious suitcase full of ration cards and a wireless radio, is a dashing man of action and secret resistance hero to his doting nephew Michiel. Tension is high in the village: the war is turning badly for the Germans, they have increased their pressure on the town, and nobody knows who is an informer, who is a resistor, and who will be arrested next. Michiel hears his father and uncle arguing and resolves to aid the resistance himself.

In the ensuing story directed by Martin Koolhoven, Michiel is caught up in dangers and decisions far beyond his years. Without knowing who he can turn to, he must confront the reality that his own actions could have terrible repercussions on his family and others. By the time the war is over, Michiel has come of age and has learned the stark difference between adventure fantasy and the ugly realities of war.

We know about Anne Frank’s diary and Paul Verhoeven’s masterpiece Black Book but director Martin Koolhoven has shed new light on what happened in Holland with a powerful and touching film. (Rex Reed, New York Observer)