Rituals

Adapted from a 1980 novel by Cees Nooteboom that has been through 11 editions in Holland and translated into eight languages, Herbert Curiel's Dutch feature describes the gradual re-education of an upper-class womanizer and art dealer (Derek De Lint) who loses most of his money in the stock market and meets the relatively impoverished rejected son of a family friend (Thom Hoffman) who teaches him another way of looking at life's everyday rituals. Accompanied by a dry and occasionally witty offscreen, first-person narration, the plot is largely a series of philosophical monologues and dialogues, but Curiel's actors and his effective use of Amsterdam settings give it more than an abstract, cerebral interest. Nothing earthshaking, but a respectable and watchable piece of work, made with craft and intelligence.

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