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still Van de koele meren des doods (Nouchka van Brakel, NL 1982)

Van de koele meren des doods

Nouchka van Brakel / NL, 1982 / 120 min.

A stunningly beautiful adaptation of Frederik van Eeden’s 1900 novel. Its protagonist, Hedwig Marga de Fontayne, is the victim of an unhappy marriage, doomed affairs, prostitution and morphine addiction. 4K restoration; double bill with Mai Zetterling’s Amorosa. Preceded by an interview with director Nouchka van Brakel.

poster Van de koele meren des doods (Nouchka van Brakel, NL 1982)

Director Nouchka van Brakel turned Frederik van Eeden’s naturalistic novel about the misfortunes of a woman from the upper classes into an astute portrait of the position of women in a patriarchal society.

Hedwig Marga de Fontayne (Renée Soutendijk) is beautiful, intelligent and wealthy. She is irresistibly drawn to the men in her circle, but neither marriage or affairs can bring her happiness. A morphine addiction leads her down the road of prostitution to end in the gutters of Paris and, finally, in a psychiatric institution.

Nouchka van Brakel presents an intense psychological portrait of a woman literally driven insane by the constraints of a male-dominated world. Women who want their lives or society to change will be faced with repression, the director once said in an interview. It is the task of a feminist filmmaker to expose the mechanisms.

Her interpretation of Frederik van Eeden’s novel proves that commitment and a sumptuously filmed drama for the general public can go hand in hand. Acting, camerawork, art direction and direction were widely acclaimed, the film was the biggest box office hit in the Netherlands in 1982.

Film programmer Lauren Murphy interviews Nouchka van Brakel before the screening of the film.

A double bill with the thematically related Amorosa (1986, Mai Zetterling), about the turbulent life of Swedish writer Agnes von Krusenstjerna.

This is part of



Nouchka van Brakel

Production year




Original title

Van de koele meren des doods


120 min.

Part of

IFFR 2021

International Film Festival Rotterdam is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year! IFFR 2021 concludes with a festive programme taking place on 2-6 June. Eye joins in the celebrations with a special, one-off double bill on our Eye Film Player.

Learn more
Stil Careless Crime

Why in Eye

A joint programme of restored film classics to celebrate 50 years of IFFR and 75 years of Eye Filmmuseum.

still Van de koele meren des doods (Nouchka van Brakel, NL 1982)
still Van de koele meren des doods (Nouchka van Brakel, NL 1982)
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