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Review: Two Women – Twice a Woman (1979)

Directed by: | 108 minutes | drama, | Actors: , , , , , , , , , , Arnold Gelderman, Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu, Joop Admiraal, ,

In the Images for the Future project, the Filmmuseum, the Association of Public Libraries, Sound and Vision, the National Archives, the Central Discotheque Rotterdam and Kennisland are working together to save and make available the audiovisual heritage. In other words: people are restoring and digitizing everything in order to preserve it for future generations, after all: film negatives have far from eternal life. The first film to be rescued as part of this major cultural operation is ‘Two women’ (1979) by George Sluizer, after Harry Mulisch’s book of the same name.

It is no coincidence that Sluizer’s film is the first. The film will be released during the third edition of the national campaign Nederland Leest, in which a lot of attention is paid to the same Harry Mulisch. Now that this film has been restored and digitized, there are still about a thousand hours of film from others waiting for restoration and over 40,000 for digitization. Enough to do! It is absolutely clear after seeing the film that ‘Two women’ is more than ‘just’ a digitization: the image quality is excellent and if you did not know it probably does not occur to you that it was almost thirty years ago. is made. The colors are bright and fresh, as if from this time. In addition, the used interiors could be from this time, wide trouser legs and seventies hairstyles are easy to measure and oldtimers (a nice old Citroën GS, or a VW Beetle) are for rent, so you can’t tell the age of the film. Only when characters go outside and you recognize the old Dam (Amsterdam) and the Kalverstraat, with shops that are no longer there and you see the building of the Amsterdam Rotterdam Bank (now ABN / AMRO) to the right of the Dam, you know for sure that this film was actually shot at that time.

More importantly, however, the story is not dated. The lyrics are sharp and make you think about the ever recognizable themes, such as love pain and struggle between the sexes. The plot is subtly woven together, with beautiful lines to the past and how things come back. Acting work is in principle okay, but sometimes also a bit wooden. The latter has to do with the hideous choice to have all the dialogues of this Dutch story conducted in English, while the actors, except for Anthony Perkins, are not native speakers, which makes things a bit more difficult. English would be better for the international market. But yes, he already had trouble with the (typically Dutch) controversial subject anyway. Because of that controversy, director Sluizer, for example, failed to get a great American actress like for the lead role. It was feared that this role would damage the career. The young Sandra Dumas (in the role of Sylvia) was not up to that. Sluizer found her in the pub and dragged her for the camera. She stopped doing many major roles after that. Not because nobody wanted her, on the contrary, no, she did not want her herself. Her obstinate character, which she also showed on the set – she did everything exactly the way she wanted – greatly benefits her role. As an impressive, Lolita-like, confident young woman, she makes the blood flow faster in (older) men and women. Sluizer found her in the pub and dragged her for the camera. She stopped doing many major roles after that. Not because nobody wanted her, on the contrary, no, she did not want her herself. Her obstinate character, which she also showed on the set – she did everything exactly as she wanted – greatly benefits her role. As an impressive, Lolita-like, confident young woman, she makes the blood flow faster in (older) men and women. Sluizer found her in the pub and dragged her in front of the camera. She stopped doing many major roles after that. Not because nobody wanted her, on the contrary, no, she did not want her herself. Her obstinate character, which she also showed on the set – she did everything exactly as she wanted – greatly benefits her role. As an impressive, Lolita-like, confident young woman, she makes the blood flow faster in (older) men and women.

The now seventy-six year old Sluizer, who had an international breakthrough with ‘Spoorloos’ (1988) and the American remake ‘The Vanishing’ (1993), has nothing to be ashamed of. The fact that the controversy around homosexuality in films is no longer so great (witness the great success of ‘Brokeback Mountain’; 2005), thanks to the universal theme and solid direction, hardly detracts from the fascinating content of the story of this 1979 film. ‘ Two women ‘may be seen (again).

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