Oorlogswinter (Winter in Wartime) (2008)

 

 

 

 

Director:     .

Starring:     Martijn Lakemeier (Michiel), Yorick van Wageningen (Oom Ben), Jamie Campbell Bower (Jack), Raymond Thiry (Johan), Melody Klaver (Erica), Anneke Blok (Lia), Mees Peijnenburg (Dirk), Jesse van Driel (Theo), Dan van Husen (Auer), Ad van Kempen (Schafter), Tygo Gernandt (Bertus), Ben Ramakers (Veerman), Tibo Vandenborre (Duitse Soldaat Redding), Jens Roth (Duitse Soldaat 1), Peter Eberst (Duitse Soldaat 2).

Dutch Resistance  --  a boy is drawn into the Dutch resistance

 

 

Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire film.

Holland, January 1945. At night a British airplane crashes into a field. A German guard is about to shoot him, but the pilot uses his pistol and shoots the guard. In the morning the Germans gather around the crash site. Two Dutch boys on their bikes come closer to get a good look at the plane. They ditch their bikes and walk to the other side of the plane. They start fooling around with some of the equipment they find.

A German notices the boys and comes after them. The boys take off, grab their bikes and ride away as fast as they can. A German squad car chases after them. The boys split. Michiel goes to the right, while Theo goes to the left. Michiel goes over a small bridge, falls off his bike and lands at the feet of a German officer.

The Germans take Michiel to headquarters. Michiel is the son of the town mayor.  His name is van Beusekom.  He comes to get Michiel out of trouble.  Herr Auer greets him.  The Mayor says it won't happen again.  Auer says there was another boy involved in the incident.  Michiel says he was by himself. 

The boy is released.  Father tells him that he shouldn't be upsetting the Germans at this time.  Michiel says:  "I'm supposed to suck up to them too?"   The boy starts walking his bike back home. 

At home Michiel opens his window and talks to Theo outside in the street.

At night Michiel hears feet tramping down snow.  He looks out his window and sees his uncle.  The family is very happy to see him.  He says he had to go for the raids for the work camps.  Michiel asks mother if Uncle Ben can sleep in his room?  Sure.  Michiel takes uncle's suitcase up into the attic.  He opens it and finds a radio transmitter.  He sees some Resistance papers.  And there are lots of food coupons.  And then comes the pistol.

In the morning Michiel comes down and hears and sees Uncle Ben criticizing father.  Dad wants the coupons thrown into the river.  Uncle says:  "You would yet your own people starve because you have to be neutral!  Weakling."

Theo's older brother, Dirk, wants a word with Michiel.  He asks Michiel if he could deliver a message for him if he (Dirk) doesn't show up tomorrow?  If he doesn't come back, then take this letter to Bertus van Gelder.  Michiel wants to know what Dirk is planning to do.  Dirk says that tonight they are taking out the ammunition depot at Lagezande. 

At night the Germans come to Theo's house.  They are taking the father away after smacking him around for a bit.  The Mayor goes outside and negotiates with the Germans.  He talks the Germans out of taking the neighbor father away.  The Germans leave. 

The Mayor comes back home. Michiel says father was laughing with the Germans.  Dad asks:  "Laughing?"  He then asks if Dirk came over to their house?  Michiel says Dirk didn't say anything.  So now dad tells his son that Dirk took part in a raid, and the Germans were waiting for him.  There were two dead and Dirk was arrested..  Uncle Ben comes home late.  He says, considering way happened tonight:  "If I notice you getting involved in the war, I'll knock your head off." 

In the morning Michiel goes to see Bertus.  He tries to give him the letter, but a Nazi sympathizer comes down into the garage.  So Michiel will hold onto the letter for awhile.  He sees Theo, who tells Michiel that he is going to stay with his grandmother because mother thinks it's too dangerous to stay here. 

Later Michiel returns to see Bertus, but all he sees is Bertus being shot down as he tries to run away.  Michiel rides away. 

In a private space in the stable, Michiel reads the letter:  "Dagdaler Woods.  Old Hunting Cabin.  60 meters East."  Michiel rides his bike to the spot.  He counts off 60 meters east.  From under some tree boughs, a man tells him to put his hands up in the air.  Michiel tells the pilot that he is a friend.  Dirk was arrested and Bertus is dead, but he can help the pilot.  The pilot's name is Jack.  He believes Michiel and asks him to bring him some more food. 

Michiel returns home.  He hears Uncle Ben ask father who is in the Resistance?  Dad says he can't help him.  Ben responds:  "You don't want to.  You'd rather talk to Krauts."  Michiel is pretty disgusted with dad too. 

Michiel smokes cigarettes and plays cards with Jack.  He tells Jack that the Germans guarding the ferry drink tea every day at 3 o'clock.  They can use that break to go over the river. The next morning Michiel tells the man in charge of the ferry boat that he will have a passenger tomorrow at 3 o'clock.   The ferry operators says to bring him some edible food. 

Michiel comes into his house and mother introduces him to Aunt Cora and Janneke from Amsterdam.  Michiel has never heard of this Aunt Cora and Janneke.  Mom is probably hiding Jewish people.  Now Michiel and Uncle Ben have to move to the attic, so the two females can have their room. 

Early next morning Michiel brings food in a back pack for Jack.   His leg wound is getting worse.  Michiel tells him that he will bring Jack his sister who is a nurse and she will fix the wound for him. 

Michiel brings his sister back with him.  A man sees them biking in the woods and is a little too curious about the young people.  They push on. 

Michiel's sister fixes up Jack's leg.  Now Jack gives a little package to Michiel that has to be sent back to England.  Michiel's says he knows people who can get the package across to England.  Back home, Michiel gives the package to Ben, who is a little shocked that Michiel is with the Resistance.  But he doesn't say anything about it to Michiel.

Michiel and Jack start to make their escape.  But they run into a lot of German soldiers.  They have to split apart for fear of being caught together.  Jack hides under some tree boughs.  Michiel returns to the road and starts bicycling.  He sees that the soldiers are headed to the airplane crash site.  Then he takes off for home. 

When Michiel returns Erica wants to know how is Jack and where is Jack?  Michiel says he lost him.  Father gets a telephone call.  He tells everyone that they found a dead German soldier in Dagdaler Woods. 

Uncle Ben asks Michiel what does he know about the dead German soldier?  Nothing, is the answer.  Ben says that the package is on its way to England. 

The next day Michiel goes out looking for Jack.  He finds him at his old hiding place.  Michiel is so relieved that he's alive.  He tells Jack that they will go to Zwolle when the Germans leave the woods.  He then finds out that Jack is the one who killed the German soldier. 

Biking along the frozen canal, Michiel is distracted by an incident of German troops struggling with a civilian.  He and his bike fall through a weak place in the ice.  He loses his bike, but a German soldier saves him from the icy water. 

The German takes Michiel to the hospital where sister Erica and mom are working.  Erica asks if Jack has asked about her?  No. 

The Germans come to the home and pick up the Mayor.   Michiel runs up to his father before he is put in a German vehicle.  Dad tells him to keep care of himself.  He gets in with a number of other people picked up by the Germans. 

Ben tells the family that dad is at the town hall.  Mom and Michiel run there, but the Germans will not let them see dad. 

Ben goes out from home to see what he can do. 

Michiel asks mom where's Erica?  She has left the house.  Michiel thinks she went down to see Jack.  And he was right.  Jack holds a crying Erika who says they are going to kill her father because of the dead German soldier. 

Back at home, Ben comes in and says dad will be freed tomorrow. 

Next morning the church bells are ringing.  The towns people come to the central area of town.  A firing squad readies itself.  Michiel reaches the area just as the three civilians are shot dead by nine German soldiers. 

The funeral is to take place today, but Michiel blames Ben for not preventing his father's death.  Erica says it was the Germans who killed dad, not Uncle Ben. 

Michiel takes Jack for a ride to the ferry.  Again he gets distracted by the German soldiers, and a wheel hits a huge rock and falls off.  The German soldiers help put the wheel back on. 

Michiel and Jack reach the ferry, but Jack refuses to let the ferry start across.  He thinks it's a trap.  And sure enough it is, because a bunch of German soldiers on the other side of the river now pop up and start firing at the ferry.  Michiel turns the horse and carriage around and makes a run for it.  German soldiers on motorcycles chase after them.  Jack jumps onto the horse and tells Michiel go jump on the horse with him.  Now they go off the road.  The carriage crashes.  The horse breaks its leg and Jack has to shoot the horse.   

The guys make it back to home base and Michiel puts Jack in a shed out back.  He tells Ben that the RAF pilot is out in the shed.  Ben tells Michiel to now let him take over and he will get the pilot out and back to England.  Ben goes to see Jack. 

The next morning Michiel takes some breakfast out for Jack, but he's not in the shed.  He runs up to his sister's room to tell her Jack's gone, but he finds sister and Jack naked in bed together.  He backs out and closes the door. 

Later, Jack, dressed in a suit and tie, comes to say goodbye to Michiel.  Jack gives the lad a small present, they shake hands and Jack leaves.  Ben comes in and tells Michiel that Dirk should never have used Michiel.  In the house Michiel opens the package.  It's the pack of cards Jack used to pass the time waiting.  Then it occurs to Michiel that he never said that Dirk was his contact person.  He rushes up to the attic and goes through Ben's suitcase.  There he finds German papers and magazines. 

Michiel now gets his bike and goes racing along after Ben.  When he overtakes them he drops his bike and goes into Jack's pocket for his pistol.  He holds the pistol on Ben.  Michiel reveals that Ben has been working for the Germans.  Ben tries to pull out his pistol, but Jack kicks him in the leg sending Ben to the ground.  He then grabs Ben's pistol. 

Now Jack starts crossing the bridge while underneath the bridge.  He goes hand over hand.  Meanwhile, Erica walks on top of the bridge passing through the German check point.  And Michiel is near the river with his prisoner Ben, tied to a tree. 

Jack gets so tired that he loses his grasp and falls into the river.  He starts swimming for the shore and Erica. 

Ben says he wants to make a deal, but Michiel doesn't trust him.  Ben then says he arranged to save his father, but father would not have another man killed in his place.  He chose to die rather than take a substitute.  Michiel takes note of that, but now he sees Jack and Erica being reunited on the opposite shore.  When he turns around Ben is gone.  Michiel goes running after him.  Ben falls and Michiel catches up with him.  Michiel holds his pistol on Ben as he gets up.  They then both see a German convoy going by.  Ben figures that now Michiel would be too afraid to shoot him for fear of alerting the Germans.  He starts walking away slowly.   Then a shot rings out.  Michiel has shot Ben who now lies motionless on the snowy ground. 

In the summer the Dutch town is liberated. The people all come out to greet their liberators. All except for Michiel who watches from a window.  He sees Erica receiving a letter and it may be from Jack. 

Theo comes over and asks why Michiel is not celebrating?  He hands the plastic tubing from Jack's downed airplane over to Michiel, who spins the tubing over his head making whistling sounds with it.   And now finally Michiel has a grin on his face. 

 

Good movie with a nice twist at the end.  The film celebrates the heroics of the Dutch Resistance against Nazi occupation.  Michiel is a young fellow, but he steps up to the plate when a resistance man asks for his help.  He takes great risks to help a downed British pilot.  And he sacrifices big time due to the German punitive reactions to some of his actions.  He even goes through some depression because of what happens, but he never stops doing what one would expect from a Resistance fighter.  The film kept my interest throughout even on the second watching of the film to write a film summary.

Germany invaded Holland on May 10, 1940.  Holland was liberated May 5, 1945.  Dutch Resistance was known for its non-violence.  The Resistance hid over 300,000 people tended to by 60,000 to 200,000 illegal landlords and caretakers.  A puppet Nazi administration was established in Holland, headed by Antoon Mussert, chief of the Netherlands Nazi Party and called "Little Fuehrer".   The Dutch Resistance assassinated quite a few Dutch traitors.  "Lieutenant General Hendrik Alexander Seyffardt, a lone traitor among the Dutch generals, who had just been appointed by Mussert to raise a Dutch army for service on the Russian front, was shot. Dr. H. Raydon, Nazi sponsored Propaganda Minister, and his wife were killed. Mussert's Secretary for Social Affairs, C. van Ravenzwaai, was assassinated. The name of the fourth victim was not known, but it was reported that he had been nominated for Attorney General."  [http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/german_invasion_of_holland.htm.]

After the war Mussert was convicted and executed by a firing squad. 

The more radical resistance group 'CS 6' committed some 20 assassinations.

 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

 

 

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