Lef (Guts)

©CV Lef ©Indies Film Distribution photo: Edwin Molenaar photo courtesty MVSP Publicity/Promotion/Public Relations
Homage a lá Godard, Truffaut, and Fellini with a sauce Hollandaise.

Olivier (Viggo Waas) is an unsuccessful actor with dreams of being a hero. He manages to make these dreams come to life for himself on the pages of a grade-B "film noir" manuscript. His best friend and "manager" Luc (Rick Engelkes) encourages him to finish writing his script so that they can get the movie produced with the assistance of their new-found backer, Luc's aunt.

Annoyed and frustrated by the slow progress of his own work, Olivier develops a dislike for the face of the girl on the billboard across the way, which endlessly peers into his window. Anxiously anticipating the day it will be removed, he unexpectedly meets Mariëlle (Alice Reys), the real-life girl in the flesh and winds up, a short time afterward, involved in a relationship with her. This is bound to create problems for Olivier in deciding whether to pursue his craft or pursue something more lifelike. It will also create frictions between him and Luc. Before that time arrives, however, he bounces back and forth emotionally during the creative process as a result of the surrounding life forces, which he cannot close himself off from. In short, the movie deals with a post-puberty would-be actor/cum author who, in undergoing further inescapable rites of passage, unwillingly experiences the banalities of relationships, jealousies, and all the other "important" things in life.

The links of the story line follow each other logically and there is, happily, no nonsense jumping from one idea to another. Certain moments are too long because they only further anticipated plot line, such as the jump-cut section where Olivier spends days reclusively working on the script until it is finished, being visited periodically by Luc who bears food and good will as well as interested and friendly inquisitiveness. In general, the script could have been tightened up at such points and delivered a stronger impact.

The attractive threesome of actors in the main roles is very likeable and each one possesses an individual charm displayed, each in its own way, through an exhilarating youthfulness and disarming spontaneity.

Director Ron Termaat and his co-producing partner Marijke Kloosterman deserve a round of applause for the guts (lef) they have shown in bringing this production successfully to completion. Undergoing the routine difficulties confronted, when not being awarded a subsidy in Holland, in pursuing the development and making of a film, they struggled onward until the picture became a reality. Although many aspects of financial investment in Holland for film are changing momentarily, Termaat has experienced the typical difficulties undergone when a script has not been chosen by a panel and managed to overcome them. It may have taken from 1992 till 1999 to get accomplish this feat, but he made it (with a little help from his friends). Good work Lef CV!

Compliments for the camera work of Maarten Kramer n.s.c. that captures all elements necessary for telling the story without distracting the viewer.

Although there may be too much reference (under the guise of reverence) to earlier movies and waves, the three main characters come off looking good in a nicely made, if somewhat superfluous story. The charm of this kind of tale passed (and was surpassed) with "Jules et Jim". From beginning to end, we encounter reminders of "Au Bou De Souffle" (as the three ride in the car), "Boccaccio '70" (the bothersome billboard, painted or unpainted), "The Graduate" (wedding scene) and "Una Giornata Particulare" (standing between the wafting sheets). The main character's obsession with Delon could even be viewed as a diluted parallel of Jean-Pierre Leaud's relationship with Bogie in "le Quatre Cents Coup". I'm sure there are more, but these will suffice. On the other hand, this first feature film of Termaat promises to be the start of an interesting career in Dutch feature filmmaking. It would undoubtedly be more interesting if he separated himself from existing cinema and forms and confronted a script head on. This movie suggests that his future work could be very interesting. This time it is well worth seeing.

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett