Vox Populi

Vox PopuliVox Populi

Eddy Terstall :: The Netherlands :: 2008 :: 1h30

A politician living a politically and sexually promiscuous life, is confronted with the opinions of the working class when his daughter starts seeing a young lower class man. The politician befriends the in laws, in so far as their differences allow them to, and he soaks up the popular opinions of the redneck father. As time goes by, the politician starts to integrate the mans opinions more and more into his public discourse.

This is the third entry of a trilogy about Dutch society, after Simon (2004) and Sextet (2007). The first portrayed liberal society at its peak, the second discussed sex within that society as an expression of liberty, and this latest installment -and the most political- seems to proclaim its decline. There is some optimism within the latest vision, but I still left the film with a negative overall view with respects to the success of the “multi-cultural society” as seen by Terstall, with his unsophisticated opportunists as political leaders. The message seems to be that politicians should listen more to the lower class, although they should do so “intelligently”. (Which is as obvious as it is contradictory.)

This is quite a curious film. The Netherlands seem to be (still) going through a turbulent period,  politically, since the murders of the politician Pim Fortijn and the film director Theo van Gogh, both by minority radicals. The clash between the conservative muslims and the liberal atheists rages on throughout the movie, and the director’s support of the Dutch labour party seems to be a direct link between the movie and real life. In the end, we are treated to a moralizing political speech, as if the movie did not have enough of them, exposing common sense in terms general enough to make them useless. Unless you are writing a thesis on contemporary Holland, I think the movie could easily be missed. The intentions are perhaps good, but the result feels like a long political TV message with a xenophobic tone and little content. Although, as opposed to the real thing, this movie has humour going for it…



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