Review: The inspirer (2018)


The inspirer (2018)

Directed by: Hans Breetveld | 102 minutes | comedy, drama | Actors: Hans Breetveld, Sytske van der Ster, David Lucieer, Mary-Lou van Stenis, Truus te Selle, Eva Duijvestein, Hein van der Heijden, Irma Hartog

‘The Inspirator’ is described as a comic drama. Bad term, actually. How many tragicomedies were actually made in the Netherlands? We know very few of them, ‘Honeys’ perhaps. ‘The inspirer’ is also one. The narcissistic jellyfish of a change guru Gijs Schippers (Hans Breetveld) has a mistress (Sytske van der Ster) and is therefore no longer comfortable at home. The dull office types in his retinue also sense this when he fires terms such as ‘facilitating experimentation’ at them. Not now.

Schippers does have something of Alexander Pechtold, as he rises between the blowing cattle. But all this aside (sorry for the Alexander comparison). There are more people with a midlife, such as mistress Judith, a neurotic suit fetishist with an unemployed friend (David Lucieer). And Schippers’ wife Elske (Mary-Lou van Stenis) is manic-depressive because of an incestuous relationship with her twin brother, who suddenly dies. Just when Gijs wants to announce the divorce.

You read a number of farcical motifs that can make a film go wild, but Breetveld the director bravely stands his ground. Proper acting (Van Stenis, Van der Ster), a modest loss of himself as guru and human beings are cause and effect. What works especially well is the analogy – a mirror story, with Judith and her friend Bas. While Gijs and Elske drive into the relational abyss without really communicating, Judith and Bas come closer together during an anthroposophical summer camp for mental health patients full of shit and pee, depicted in drawn-out scenes.

We must therefore find humor especially in the absurd clash of daily reality and spiritual dismantling, in which Judith’s story is just as convincing as Gijs’s. Breetveld sees his character eventually outclassed by that of the more than excellent Van Stenis. It goes from helter-skelter down and up with these characters, as you would expect in a tragicomedy. That is certainly a relief in the vale of tears of rom-coms and Nerdsex farces that we have been plowing through for decades. It is a pity that at the end they still think they have to implant a feel-good moment.

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