Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square


Year: 1997
Country: Netherlands
Run Time: 119 minutes

The dynamic opening sequence of CHARACTER seizes and drags you into the most edge-of-the-seat tale of a malignant father-son relationship since, well, "The Empire Strikes Back." Jacob Willem's mother was an iron-willed chambermaid, taken one night in a moment of sexual abandon by her employer Dreverhaven, the most feared and despised debt-collector in 1920s Rotterdam. She left Dreverhaven's household once she realized she was pregnant, and raised the boy alone. But the mountainous spectre of Dreverhaven looms over Jacob's life like an evil black cloud blotting the sun. As the child grows into a man, Dreverhaven is always there lurking in the background, pulling strings, lending money, refusing aid, filing lawsuits - anything possible, it seems, to systematically destroy the career of his one and only son. The dire story comes out as police interrogate Jacob Willem in jail, where he's being held ... under suspicion of patricide. With the narrative force of a speeding locomotive, unerring sense for time and place, and a Dickensian gallery of villains and victims, CHARACTER is a spellbinding saga of the sins of the fathers, an award-winner at Cannes and most deservedly so. (In Dutch with English subtitles)

Mike van Diem, Laurens Geels, Ruud van Megen (based on the novel by F. Bordewijk)

Mike van Diem

Laurens Geels

Rogier Stoffers

Jessica de Koning

Principal Cast
Fedja van Huet, Jan Decleir, Betty Schurrman, Victor Low, Tamar van den Dop, Hans Kesting

Film Contact
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