Max Havelaar | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

A dapted from a classic 19th-century novel, this Dutch saga (1976, 169 min.) by Fons Rademakers portrays the title character's efforts to alleviate racism and corruption in the colonial East Indies. An idealistic young bureaucrat, Havelaar is named supervisor of a Javanese outpost where the natives are terrorized by the militia of a local prince; he tries to redistribute wealth and power but fails to recognize how much the prince's oppression is intertwined with his own country's subjugation of an entire culture. Aided by Jan de Bont's sumptuous cinematography, Rademakers creates a lush but foreboding environment that proves as dangerous to the hero as the prince's soldiers. With Joop Admiraal, Sacha Bulthuis, and a young Rutger Hauer. In Dutch with subtitles. A 35-millimeter print will be shown. Gene Siskel Film Center.

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