The Coming of Joachim Stiller

Film
Antwerp, the mid-1970s. Journalist Freek Groenevelt (Metsers) is sitting in a café reading Kafka when three oddly angelic labourers arrive and start digging. Task completed, they reseal the street and disappear. In his column, Freek criticises the clerk of works for wasting public money and in response receives a letter from a Joachim Stiller postmarked 11 September 1919. Stiller, who appears somehow to have read Freek's column, warns him to be on the lookout for further strange phenomena and to believe in the truth of what he sees. Freek falls into the embrace of his negligée-clad neighbour Lily (Ammelrooy) but flees into the arms of gallery assistant Simone (Habbema) in search of a solid reality to cling to as more and more weird shit happens. Harry Kümel's first film after the artistic triumph (and commercial disaster) that was Malpertuis is a fabulous amalgam of magical realism (from the novel by Hubert Lampo) and '70s style (clothes, sets, haircuts). Numerous bravura sequences, particularly those where Freek undergoes psychoanalysis and memories of an exploding tram are intercut with clips from King Kong, linger in the mind with hallucinatory clarity. Check out the crowd scenes from the art exhibition for Kümel's enjoyable cameo.

By: NRo

Release details

Duration: 180 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Harry Kümel
Screenwriter: Harry Kümel, Jean Ferry, Jan Blokker
Cast: Hugo Metsers
Cox Habbema
Willeke van Ammelrooy
Joan Remmelts
Gaston Vandermeulen
Peter Strynckx
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