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De Bende van Oss * André van Duren (2011)

This Dutch film is released on DVD pretty quickly. Only a few months ago it premiered in the cinemas. “Oss” from the title is a village in the Dutch province of Noord-Brabant. In the 1930’ies the inhabitents formed a close community with no respect for the law, a national law that was maintainted by policemen coming from more Northern, protestant parts. In this community everybody is corrupt. The priest jerks off over the confessions he hears, the major has sex-parties, the local policeman is easily bribed. We mostly follow Johanna who also tells the story of the maffiosic community that the lives in. First trying to step out of that world within her own village, things run so far out of hand that she starts to plan to leave the country for the promised land. The beautiful Johanna owns one of the village’s pubs and acts as the local prostitute. In the Dutch film tradition the film contains sex and foul language, but the result is not as cheap as our 1980’ies films. In fact, the film looks pretty good. It is shot in ‘just not black-and-white’, the camera work looks good, even the acting is good. The film really has a 1930’ies atmosphere. I heard that people from the village of Oss play in it because the director wanted the local dialect to sound as authentic as possible. If the language is ‘Oss’ then it must be a ‘light version’. The DVD only has Dutch subtitles for the hearing impaired, while Flemish TV and films are usually subtitled because people seem to think that the viewers would not understand what is said. The good news is, the DVD comes with standard English subtitles as well, so all you foreigners can just order your copies from my own country should you not be able to find it. Besides the local folk, this film contains some better-known actors, such as Matthias “Rundskop” Schoenaerts, Frank Lammers, Sylvia Hoeks and, very shortly, Theo Maassen. Indeed, “De Bende Van Oss” is another Dutch film that is not bad at all. Perhaps recommended to people who like 1930’ies (maffia) films.

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