Review: VD (1972)

Director: Wim Verstappen | 107 minutes | drama, comedy | Actors: Sonja Barend, Maartje Bijl, Marijke Boonstra, Kees Brusse, Kitty Courbois, Andrea Domburg, Marja Kok, Rudolf Lucieer, Hugo Metsers, Guus Oster, Cor van Rijn, Piet Römer, Ank van der Moer, Helmert Woudenberg

“VD” is a jet-black story about a large company and the intrigues within the family that owns the company. The protagonists are almost all about grandfather’s money and the associated power. Moreover, it turns out that just about everyone does it with everyone, which produces amusing scenes. A nice film from the oeuvre of Verstappen and a nice representation of the spirit of the times.

Director Verstappen does not ignore it for long: the title roles appear with an abattoir in the background, where various people kill cows and pigs in a horrible way. Long live the meat processing industry! As the film progresses, the director edits the confronting images of the slaughterhouse with tragic events within the Van Doorn family to show the depravity of a number of wealthy family members. And corruption is there to a great extent. The director of the VD family business, Brusse as the old Van Doorn, is perhaps the most immoral of the bunch. From a business point of view, he has no qualms whatsoever in bringing an untested Bulgarian contraceptive onto the Dutch market, with which he can harm the health of many women. His personal life is not much better. Brusse is married, but rarely sleeps with his wife. Instead, he dives into the sheets with young friends of his son, Masons, and even manages to engage in sexual relationships with his own daughter! The stoic Brusse (“Red Sien”) plays the leading role with verve.

“VD” has a number of other perspectives that are worth seeing. The fact that VD is in both the meat industry and medicine creates dangerous connections, as the film shows. Brusse and his obedient colleagues have little difficulty converting the hormones of deceased animals into birth control drugs that are supposed to make the pill forget. You also get to know the lives of people who are more than fortunate. Despite their money and power, hardly anyone appears to be very satisfied with their life. Metsers (“Blue Movie”) plays, as is often the case, a charlatan, a figure who travels through life adorning and making love, without having too many responsibilities. He takes the young, long-haired Sonja Barend home, after which he almost immediately hooks up with another woman during a nice party in the house of the Van Doorn family. Masons and his affluent friends think they can afford anything, but come home from a rude awakening when a drinking party ends in an unforeseen death. But rich guys like Masons always seem to get away with everything.

“VD” is an interesting, fun film that captures the era well. There is a free sexual morality, which, in fact, breaks down. The whole Van Doorn family is doing it together, at a certain point you don’t know who has had who, and the wife of old Van Doorn also has an extremely entertaining surprise in store. Furthermore, “VD” is about contraception, which was not exactly freely negotiable in the early 1970s. Surprising film with a number of familiar faces.


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