Winter in Wartime (Oorlogswinter) now in U.S. theaters

Correspondent Yolanda Gerritsen saw a preview of the U.S. premiere of Winter in Wartime (Oorlogswinter), after the book by Dutch author Jan Terlouw.

The final months of the German occupation in a small Dutch village are the backdrop to the events in the movie Winter in Wartime. A wonderful film by director Martin Koolhoven, Winter in Wartime is both a thrilling action movie and a coming-of-age story for the main character, young Michiel van Beusekom, the son of the mayor of this small village, which is located close to Zwolle in the Eastern part of the Netherlands. It’s mainly through his eyes that we see the events evolve in the course of the movie.

In the opening scene Michiel watches through an opening in the frost on his bedroom window how a burning plane leaves fiery traces in the night sky. When Michiel and his best friend find the wreckage of this British plane the next day and retrieve a few mementos, the Germans discover them. The chase through the woods is a thrilling adventure, all just fun and games for the boys, as they escape from the bad guys and make their way home.

Michiel is annoyed by how his father, the mayor, deals with the Germans. He feels his father is not tough enough and makes too many compromises with the enemy. So he looks up to his uncle Ben, a member of the underground resistance and a real hero in his eyes. Michiel would like to help the underground resistance, but his uncle Ben sternly warns him to never get involved.

When Dirk, his neighbor, asks him to deliver a letter to the blacksmith in case he shouldn’t return from an attack on a German ammunition depot, he finally feels taken seriously and is excited to be involved in something important.
But before he has a chance to deliver the letter, Michiel can only watch as the Germans drag the blacksmith from his shop and shoot him in the street. He is on his own now and it dawns on him that his adventure may be more than he bargained for.

The letter contains a map of a location in the woods. When Michiel investigates, he finds Jack, the English pilot who has survived the crash, but who is injured. A member of the resistance was to take him across the river to a contact in Zwolle. Jack swears him to secrecy and Michiel has to figure out how to keep him alive and get him to Zwolle.

In the ensuing events, Michiel learns the hard way that people around him are not what they seem and that war is not child’s play, but a deadly serious business. In the course of his heroic attempts to get Jack to safety, Michiel is confronted with unbearable personal losses that change him forever. When Jack finally manages to cross the bridge over the IJssel River to Zwolle, 14-year old Michiel has learned life lessons that have made him wise beyond his years.

Winter in Wartime is a fast-paced movie, filled with many unexpected twists and turns that keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Young Martijn Lakemeier, who had never done any serious acting before, heads an excellent cast. Director Martin Koolhoven lets the story unfold through the events as witnessed and experienced by Michiel as he valiantly tries to live up to the responsibility he inadvertently stumbled into.

The movie can now be seen in New York City and Los Angeles and in other cities from March 25th; see their website for a complete list. Highly recommended.

Winter in Wartime
Directed by Martin Koolhoven
http://www.sonyclassics.com/winterinwartime

dutchusa

Comments

Vond het boek als kind ontzettend spannend. Vorig jaar de film gezien, en nog steeds een spannend verhaal.

Very well directed by Martin Koolhoven

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