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Bezeten - Het Gat in de Muur

Obsessions
Besessen - Das Loch in der Wand

Netherlands / West Germany 1969
produced by
Wim Verstappen, Dieter Geissler, Pim de la Parra (executive) for Scorpio Film Productions, Dieter Geissler Filmproduktion
directed by Pim de la Parra
starring Alexandra Stewart, Dieter Geissler, Tom van Beek, Donald Jones, Elisabeth Versluys, Marijke Boonstra, Vibeke Løkkeberg, Michael Krebs, Hasmig Terveen, Fons Rademakers, Victoria Naelin, Adrian Brine, Sara Heyblom, Ingeborg Uyt den Boogaard, Margareta Orrje, Rista Schuyt
story by Pim de la Parra, screenplay by Pim de la Parra, Martin Scorsese, Wim Verstappen, music by Bernard Herrmann

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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When a painting falls off the wall in medicine student Nils' (Dieter Geissler) apartment, he discovers a hole behind it, and starts checking in on his neighbour (Tom van Beek) - and at first, it's very understandable why he soon gets hooked on peeping, as the neighbour has a variety of naked women in his apartment, frequently has sex - everything a young man likes to see. At first, Nils' girlfriend Marina (Alexandra Stewart) is rather disgusted by his behaviour, but eventually she too is bitten by the voyeur's bug. Then though things get dark, as it turns out the neighbour frequently drugs his girls, and then plays degrading sexual games with them. At one point, while the neighbour's out, Nils actually breaks into his apartment to save one of the girls who has obviously gotten an overdose. Eventually, during a risky break-in, Nils also finds a gun and quite a bit of money in the neighbour's apartment - non of which calms his and Marina's nerves of course.

In the meantime, Marina is also working on a story of hers involving her friend Stella (Marijke Boonstra) who has been in prison for murder and drug addiction - but her story doesn't make much sense. Too late do Marina and Nils realise that Stella's story and that of the neighbour are weirdly intertwined ...

 

Historically speaking, Obsessions is a bit of a milestone in Dutch cinema, as it's the first co-production between the Netherlands and Germany since World War II, when the Nazis occupied the Netherlands, and it's (presumably) the first Dutch movie shot in English language, and the involvement of a young Martin Scorsese (with all his breakthrough films still several years in the future mind you) and legendary Hollywood suspense composer Bernard Herrmann suggest this was made for the international market - and the slightly raunchy theme and plenty of nudity in the film's first half pretty much fit the tastes of the time.

 

All that said, Obsessions actually is a pretty tense erotic thriller that plays a riff on Hitchcock's Rear Window - not only the basic theme, also several suspense scenes are pure Hitchcock -, but really comes into its own in the mystery that it creates and untangles, in a very meandering way, which fits the movie well. Plus, the Amsterdam backdrops really suit the movie well and give it its very own character. In all a very unique mystery thriller, and well worth a look for sure.

 

Links to the other film's in Cult Epics' rather awesome Dutch Sex Wave Collection: Frank & Eva, Blue Movie, My Nights with Susan, Sandra, Olga & Julie.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
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directed by
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written by
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starring
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out now on DVD