Dutchman’s Island, The

An attractive first feature from film critic Sigfrid Monle’n, this island yarn boasts good performances and a skilfully crafted script that combines intrigue and romance. The film is set in 1969, towards the end of Franco’s regime, when quiet university professor Luis Dalmau (Pere Ponce) is exiled for his political beliefs to a Spanish island whose inhabitants are debating whether it should be given over to tourism. Luis’ urge to escape from the island slowly fades as he gets to know the inhabitants, and in particular when he falls for Feli (Cristina Plazas), a feral country lass who lives with strong, silent bar owner Patrice (Feodor Atkine), a Belgian whose shady past includes killing a policeman. The peace of this paradise island is further disrupted by the arrival of a French policeman who is searching for a notorious killer called ‘The Dutchman’.
The film’s main virtues are its characters and a tidy plot that becomes satisfyingly entangled as it progresses. Almost all the relationships are affected either by politics or the inwardness of island living, and the sense of uncertainty creates simmering tensions and suspense. The performances are all excellent, and the blue skies and dark shadows of the attractive locationoFormentera, smallest of the Balearic Islandsoare well captured by cinematographer Andreu Rebes.

2001. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby stereo. 107 mins

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