Review: Life is vurrukkulluk (2018)


Life is vurrukkulluk (2018)

Directed by: Frans Weisz | 94 minutes | romance, comedy | Actors: Géza Weisz, Reinout Scholten van Aschat, Romy Louise Lauwers, Teun Kuilboer, Anniek Pheifer, Stefan de Walle, Willeke van Ammelrooy, Remco Campert, Elsie de Brauw, Map Nihom, Tine Joustra, Hugo Haenen, July Janssen, Bart Rijnink, Miguel Martins, Jim Deddes, Nick Golterman

The book “Hetleven is vurrukkulluk” (1961) by Remco Campert (1929) has been on the reading list for secondary school students for generations and thanks to the relatively small number of pages (approx. 165) and the fairly recent campaign of Nederland Leest (in 2011) the book will still be frequently chosen to read for the list. Dutch director Frans Weisz and producer Matthijs van Heijningen had wanted to film the novel about free love for years – independently of each other – but the dreamed project was not converted into real plans due to all kinds of circumstances. In the summer of 2017 it was finally shot.

Amsterdam, the sixties. Boelie (Géza Weisz) and Mees (Reinout Scholten van Aschat) are two friends in their twenties, who spend their days writing (Boelie is a poet), making music (Mees is a jazz pianist), getting inspired in the park and getting annoyed. to their parents. It is especially difficult for Boelie. His father is cheating and his mother is very unhappy and drinking. In the park, sheltering from a summer rainstorm, they meet Panda. Panda (Romy Louise Lauwers) is a cheeky girl dressed in a cheerful red skirt and blouse, who immediately befriends the boys and takes control of that afternoon in a headstrong way.

Their paths separate when Boelie is sent by Mees to an appointment with a journalist, who would interview them about the musical that the two are going to make together. That journalist (Teun Kuilboer) is married to Etta (Anniek Pheifer). He confides in Boelie that he suspects she has a lover and asks Boelie to find out who that is. Not knowing that he knows that lover very well, Boelie decides to seduce Etta herself. And meanwhile, Mees and Panda have sex and words and plans for a party.

What is immediately noticeable about the book is the special use of language. Campert corrupts a large number of words (marijuana becomes ‘Marry-you-Anna’ and instead of a popsicle it says ‘popsicle’). Of course that doesn’t come across in the film, but instead Weisz has a nice visual trick. The main characters live in the sixties, but the extras clearly live in the now. So we see Boelie and Mees walking around in fashion from several decades ago and using words that have not been used for decades, while they are overtaken by people on a Segway or who are on a mobile phone. Funny.

What the film also has in common with the book is the rippling plot. ‘Life is vurrukkulluk’ is more like a slice of life by a group of artists in the sixties, so there’s not really a head or a tail to the story, it’s a somewhat steeringless whole. And you have to love that. In addition, it takes some effort to get attached to the characters – if that works at all – because none of them are particularly sympathetic. Rather egocentric and superficial.

Géza Weisz, acting for the first time in a film by his father, makes up for a lot, as does his film mother Elsie de Brauw, who plays a wonderful role here (she hardly appears in the book). Newcomer Romy Louise Lauwers also impresses, although her role could have been written a bit more sparkling. However, it is noticeable that the film was made with infinite love and because of the playful light-hearted atmosphere ‘Life is vurrukkulluk’ easily looks away. However, because the film differs from the book on a few (important!) points, it is not recommended that students take this film instead of the book. The film adaptation of ‘Het Leven is vurrukkulluk’ is very much on the cutting edge.

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