Voyeur

1986, NR, 100 min. Directed by Alex Van Warmerdam. Starring Van Warmerdam, Henri Garcin, Olga Zuiderhoek, Annet Malherbe, Loes Luca.

REVIEWED By Kathleen Maher, Fri., Jan. 24, 1992

Oedipus in a teacup. Director van Warmerdam plays an agoraphobic young man entertained only by the visions afforded him by his binoculars and the nightly psychodrama played out by his parents. His mother (Zuiderhoek) protects him as if he were her bear cub. In one extraordinary scene she even licks him. His overbearing father (Garcin) is not at all happy with the situation, but since he's carrying on with a young woman, Malherbe, who works at a peep show, he's not rocking the boat. That is, not until all his other efforts at getting his son out of the house fail, and he finds evidence that his wife and his son have conspired against him to get a TV into the house. But once he physically throws his son out of the house, Garcin discovers the situation could get worse. Before long mother and father are both wondering where their son is, but for different reasons. They even find themselves standing by the windows with their own pair of binoculars. By the time the film is over, we've learned that there is more than one voyeur in the movie theatre, but most of us knew that going in. Blackly funny and witty, Voyeur does not have enough substance to carry it through its fairly short running time. There are too many jokes that are there for their own sakes and not because they move the story along. Voyeur's success lies in theatre director van Warmerdam's ability to translate absurdism to the screen and even take advantage of film. The family's claustrophobic apartment with its views of a surreal, stagey cityscape of windows is contrasted with bustling street scenes. The inside of the apartment is like the inside of a dysfunctioning mind. Everything seems normal enough from the inside looking out, but given a glimpse from the outside, we can see and appreciate human goofiness. At times Voyeur comes so close to delivering on its promise, but like a disappointing son, it never quite comes through.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Voyeur, Alex Van Warmerdam, Van Warmerdam, Henri Garcin, Olga Zuiderhoek, Annet Malherbe, Loes Luca

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