Mar 16, 2015
Quite notably, the great Vienna-born Austrian-British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, who was himself ¾ Jewish and described his mind as being “100% Hebraic,” once wrote: “In western civilization the Jew is always measured on scales which do not fit him […] And by taking the words of our language as the only possible standards we constantly fail to do them justice. So at one time they are overestimated, at another underestimated.” Naturally, I agree with Wittgenstein, especially when it comes to art and cinema, and I would certainly argue that a German-Jewish or British-Jewish filmmaker tends to have more in common with a Jewish Hollywood filmmaker than a fellow German filmmaker or British filmmaker of the wholly European-blooded sort. Indeed, I have watched tons of different films from around the world from different time periods and zeitgeists and I have noticed that it is much easier and appropriate to compare Jewish filmmakers to other Jewish filmmakers from different nations than to compare them to the gentiles of their own respective host nations, especially in Europe, for a number of reasons but mainly in that their works tend to lack a certain organic poetry and rawness and have a certain conspicuously contrived, calculated, cosmopolitan, and highly conscious essence about them that is especially apparent in Hebraic Hollywood where ‘genre cinema’ and various forms of comedy (e.g. parody, satire) does not reign for no reason as it reflects the concreteness of the Judaic mind. As Wittgenstein also once wrote in regard to the Jews: “What Renan calls the ‘bon sens précoce’ of the semitic races (an idea which had occurred to me too a long time ago) is their unpoetic mentality, which heads straight for what is concrete.” Indeed, when kosher commie cultural theorist Theodor Adorno once wrote in an absurdly arrogant fashion, “To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric,” what he really meant is ‘I am going to use the holocaust as an excuse as to why you evil Aryan goyim have no right to express the most beauteous and romantic aspects of their innate racial essence because I am jealous that we Jews suck at writing poetry.’ Anyway, I have recently been on a Dutch cinema kick and in the process of discovering various notable auteur filmmakers in the Netherlands, I naturally encountered Jewish auteur Rudolf van den Berg (De Johnsons aka The Johnsons, Süskind), who is a perfect example of an ostensibly ‘European’ filmmaker who might as well be working in Hollywood as all of his works reflect a deep deracination from the culture and people they depict. Van den Berg’s innate lack of Dutchness is most apparent in what is arguably his greatest and most well known work, De Avonden (1989) aka Evenings—an adaptation of Gerard Reve’s 1947 novel of the same name—as it is based on one of the most important and innately Dutch works of the post-WWII era, yet it feels like it was directed by a well trained Hollywood technician with no intrinsic understanding of Dutch culture or people. Even more so than Evenings, van Den Berg’s second feature Zoeken naar Eileen (1987) aka Looking for Eileen—a work based on the 1981 novel of the same name written by second generation holocaust survivor Leon de Winter (whose work La Place de la Bastille van den Berg previously adapted as his first feature Bastille (1984)—feels like a contrived Hollywood production that just happened to be shot in the Netherlands and not a work that was directed by a man who grew up in the same country as Adriaan Ditvoorst, Jos Stelling, Theo van Gogh, and Alex van Warmerdam. Indeed, in its Judaic obsession with the all-beauteous exotic shiksa, Looking for Eileen is like the American Pie of romance-thrillers, albeit minus the retarded raunchy humor and with a slight bit of class.
On his personal website, auteur van den Berg wrote regarding Looking for Eileen, “A strong romantic story, audiences still love it to this very day. Even though, at the time, I had the feeling I was a sell-out, because it missed the engagement and underlying existential ideas of my previous work.” If van den Berg means by “sell-out” a work that seems like it was made more with an American than Dutch audience in mind, he is certainly right as it is an unfavorably formulaic and easy-to-follow flick where about half of the dialogue is in English and one of the main stars is a hot mainstream actress who bares some skin. A sort of cross-genre romance-crime-thriller-melodrama featuring Lysette Anthony at her physical peak flashing some boobs and beaver and rather talented Dutch actor Thom Hoffman (Luger, De Witte Waan aka White Madness) in one of his most hopelessly ordinary yet at the same time strangely Jew-y roles, van den Berg's work has a strange character about it in that it feels like what would happen if a Hollywood producer got a hold of a European arthouse production and did his damnedest to make sure that it would be palatable to the most art-antagonistic of proud American philistines. Indeed, Looking for Eileen certainly follows the Hebraic Hollywood tradition of featuring a stunningly beautiful chick being in hopelessly love with a less than handsome dork who makes up for his lack of sex appeal and testosterone with his shallow charm, emasculating sensitivity, and slightly above average intellect. Unfortunately for the less than handsome dork, he loses his stunningly beautiful wife and, in turn, his mind, after she unexpectedly dies in a car wreck on the way to the airport to travel to a mere book auction in London, thereupon causing the protagonist to realize the strange and cruel nature of fate. In fact, protagonist Philip de Wit (Thom Hoffman) is so distraught after the untimely death of his wife Marian (Lysette Anthony) that he locks himself in his bathroom and attempts suicide by swallowing an entire bottle full of pills, but his father and father-in-law break into his home after he fails to answer the door and save him just before he croaks by forcing him to vomit up the surely fatal cocktail of prescription drugs. Of course, there is a Hitchcockian twist to Looking for Eileen in that a year after the widowed protagonist’s wife dies, his dead wifey Marian’s Irish Catholic doppelgänger randomly shows up in is life while looking for a copy of Tristan und Isolde at the English-language bookstore that both he and his belated beloved used to run together. Unfortunately for pansy Philip, the Irish chick not only has a bastard baby but is also married to a stereotypically violent and stupid red-faced mick philistine bastard that is connected to the IRA, among other things. In other words, emotionally perturbed protagonist Philip is so irrationally desperate to get his deceased lover back that, despite being a candy ass bibliophile who is so exceedingly effete that grade school children pick on him (during the same moment his wife dies in a car wreck, three little kids led by a turd-like Turk boy push him into a pond), he manages to develop the gall and testicular fortitude to enter the Dutch criminal underworld where he encounters violent junkie bums, barbaric gangsters, fat low-grade hookers, scheming fags, and related subhuman rabble that live off the grid.
As one would surely expect from such a Semitic cinematic work where everything is so deliberately quirky and out of tune with the hopelessly banal Aryan world, Philip’s sole friend is curiously a goofy negro with an Afro-mullet named Geoffrey (Kenneth Herdigein) who does the bitch work at the protagonist's bookstore business. Geoffrey is certainly no scholar, but he provides much needed support for Philip when he has one of his many wussy bourgeois whiteboy breakdowns. When his dead wife’s mick doppelgänger, Eileen (also played by Lysette Anthony), decides to leave abruptly upon first entering his life after randomly walking into the protagonist’s bookstore, it is jigaboo Geoffrey that is the one who convinces the fairly passive protagonist to chase her down. Ultimately, Philip follows Eileen to an abandoned building full of junky hobos where he transforms into a valiant white knight and saves her while one of the dope sick vagrants is trying to rob her. While bravely Philip acts as her savior, Eileen repays him by acting like somewhat of a bitch, as she lacks the cultivation of the protagonist's deceased wife but he does not mind too much as he is a lovelorn loser who thinks the strange Irish peasant girl with a bastard baby can somehow fill the large void that Marian’s tragic death left. For their first date, Philip takes Eileen to an art museum to show her the 1923 painting “Nude Bending Down” by French post-Impressionist painter Pierre Bonnard featuring a woman whose face is obscured because her head is turned sideways and who is wearing nothing but a pair of high-heels wiping her leg. Although annoyed by the fact that the woman is wearing shoes despite being completely naked otherwise, Eileen proclaims to like the painting and later in the film she will come to be a real-life personification of the woman in Bonnard’s piece. Rather conveniently, Philip first became aware of the painting shortly before his wife kicked the bucket, so he sort of sees Eileen's relatively positive response to the piece of art as a sign of fate.
Of course, Eileen eventually vanishes and Philip immediately panics, but he manages to find her whereabouts at a seedy hotel, but she is unfortunately already gone when he gets there. While at the hotel, one of the inhabitants gives Philip a letter that was sent to Eileen that was written by a certain ‘Tristan’ to a certain ‘Isolde.’ When Philip later goes back to his home-cum-bookstore, he is given the shock of a lifetime after being less than warmly greeted by Eileen’s estranged husband Marc Nolan (Gary Whelan), who pulls a gun on the protagonist and ultimately personifies the ‘tragic hero’ (or what he calls “King Sucker, King Cuckold”) of Tristan und Isolde. Marc is a boorish and belligerent Irish Catholic bastard with IRA connections who forces Philip to drive him to Amsterdam so that he might find his wife Eileen and baby daughter. As Philip soon learns, Eileen ran off to the Netherlands with her secret young druggy lover Kevin Fletcher (Ronald Tholen), who is the ‘Tristan’ that wrote the letter. While Marc and Philip initially reluctantly work as a team to find Eileen in an Amsterdam ghetto, the latter eventually breaks away and manages to track down his would-be-ladylove at a whorehouse called ‘Hotel Wong’ where he even goes so far as to smack around an Irish prostitute in the hope of finding pertinent information regarding his dream-lover's whereabouts. As it turns out Eileen’s real name is ‘Susan Callagher’ and she is actually at the whorehouse. Ultimately, Philip saves Eileen from Marc when the latter shows up and demands the baby, but she is later falsely charged with the murder of her lover Kevin Fletcher, whose bloody corpse the protagonist later finds lying in a bathtub.
Flash forward two years later and at first it seems as if Philip and ‘Eileen’ have multiple children with one another and are living in a luxurious castle in Jouvemont, Belgium. Of course, the reality is not quite as romantic, as Eileen merely works at the castle as a nanny and Philip just came by the estate by happenstance as he is now a successful architect who has come by to do some work. Naturally, when Philip sees Eileen, he becomes obsessed with her and has to meet with her again. Upon reuniting with Eileen, Philip learns that Kevin was actually the real father of Eileen’s child and the only reason she married Mark is because he was ‘Catholic’ and could provide her and her child with protection. Indeed, apparently Kevin was a protestant whose parents had been assassinated by the IRA, so Eileen was afraid that their ‘half-Catholic/half-Protestant’ baby would be in danger, so she made unwitting moron Marc her cuckold husband by lying and telling him that she was pregnant with his baby. Eventually, Eileen got tired of Mark and his “beer belly and football mentality,” so she decided to go looking for her true love/baby daddy Kevin in the Netherlands, but when she finally tracked him down, he had already been murdered. In the end, Philip shows a picture of his dead wife to Eileen and reveals that his initial obsession with her was due to her striking resemblance to his belated spouse. Of course, Eileen has a characteristically jealous female response and complains in a bitchy manner “I’m not her,” to which the protagonist replies “I know. I figured that out” and adds, “Do you think it makes any difference the reason you feel attracted to someone?” While the two part ways and begin walking away after the little lady gets a tad bit bitchy, Eileen and Philip cannot contain their mutual attraction toward one another, so they both turn around, run towards one another, embrace, and passionately kiss, thus ushering in the beginning of their dubious romance.
Undoubtedly, Looking for Eileen is like an overly melodramatic soup-operish mix of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958), George Sluizer’s Spoorloos (1988) aka The Vanishing, and Theo van Gogh’s Loos (1989), albeit it is nowhere is good as any of the other three films. Notably and not surprisingly, Sluizer, who was also Jewish (even though he once accused Ariel Sharon of shooting two Palestinian children in what the Israeli officials absurdly described as ‘modern blood libel’), produced van den Berg’s debut feature Bastille (1984). In fact, van den Berg would ultimately became a sort of ‘poor man’s Sluizer’ as a filmmaker who began making increasingly Hollywoodized and less arthouse-oriented works that were shot in English, but he never did quite make it to his spiritual and racial home in Hollywood, though he did manage to direct Burt Reynolds and Julie Christie in the fairly unknown abject failure Snapshots (2002). Additionally, the director's Friedrich Dürrenmatt adaptation The Cold Light of Day (1996) was later remade by Sean Penn as The Pledge (2001) starring Jack Nicholson and Benicio Del Toro (though Ladislao Vajda’s German-language adaptation It Happened in Broad Daylight (1958) aka Es geschah am hellichten Tag is better than both of the later two adaptations). Lately, van den Berg has devoted himself to working on almost exclusively Jewish-themed material, most notably Süskind (2012) about the controversial eponymous Dutch Jewish council who has been called both a Nazi collaborator and holocaust hero due to his stranger-than-fiction involvement in the deportation of Dutch Jews to concentration camps. On top of also planning a feature on famous 17th-century Sephardic Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza—a once-controversial figure who was expelled from the Jewish community due to his supposed heretical ideas—entitled Spinoza Con Brio, van den Berg also recently released the seemingly intriguing documentary Hamartía: More or Less Louis van Gasteren (2014), which centers around the killing of a Jewish refugee during WWII by the filmmaker’s Dutch goy mentor and filmmaker friend Louis van Gasteren. While featuring no overtly Jewish content, Looking for Eileen is 100% the product of Judaic minds and could have just as easily been set in Brooklyn and starring Robert Downey Jr. and Winona Ryder. Indeed, were I to rate the film against a similarly themed work by a great European arthouse auteur like Rainer Werner Fassbinder, I would have to say the film is a soulless piece of celluloid superficiality that, in a characteristically Jewish fashion, puts pussy on a pedestal and depicts masculine men as brutes, but were I to compare it to Hollywood films of the same era, I would have to admit it is a rare genre-bending romance that appeals more to men than women and its not just because it shows Lysette Anthony's boobs and beaver. For those interested in seeing Looking for Eileen star Thom Hoffman in a more masculine and ‘virile’ role that completely contradicts his Dustin Hoffman-esque performance in van den Berg's film, checkout Aryan Kaganof's darkly and perversely poetic cult classic Shabondama Elegy (1999) aka Tokyo Elegy, which features the Dutch actor committing unsimulated sex acts on a gentle Jap chick with a shaved snatch. As for van den Berg and Hoffman at the height of their artistic collaboration with one another, checkout De Avonden (1989) aka Evenings, which is easily the single strangest Dutch film ever directed by a Hebraic filmmaker.
Posted by Soiled Sinema at 8:41 PM
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