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Het Debuut

The Debut

Netherlands 1977
produced by
René Solleveld, Matthijs van Heijningen for Sigma Film Productions, VHS
directed by Nouchka van Brakel
starring Marina de Graaf, Gerard Cox, Pleuni Touw, Kitty Courbois, Dolf de Vries, Wendy Ferwerda, Sandrien van Brakel, Pieter Fleury, Joop Keesmaat, Judith Hees, Simone Ettekoven, Hans Kemna, Adrian Brine, Yvette Merlin, Mathilde Willink, Daco de la Bretonnière, Arnoud R.H. Lauxtermann
screenplay by Nouchka van Brakel, Carel Donck, based on the novel by Hester Albach, music by Ron Westerbeek

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Rather unexptectedly, 14 year old Carolien (Marina de Graaf) feels drawn to Hugo (Gerard Cox), a friend of her dad's (Dolf de Vries) she hasn't seen since early childhood and who has only recently returned after years abroad. Now while she's in her teens he's 41, and he's married to Rita (Pleuni Touw), happily married from the looks of it. However he's charmed by the girl, and of course she notices he's interested and is as sexually inexperienced as she's curious. The two start going out together behind the backs of both Rita and Carolien's parents, and it's not long before they land in bed together. All seems very well for a while, and the two seem to be genuinely in love, but the picture soon gets cracks - first when Rita announces she's pregnant, then a short vacation together lacks the romance intended, they notice apart from sex they lack common interests, and it's not long before the free-spirited Carolien gets fed up by Hugo's almost fatherly attitude. But breaking up turns out to be much harder than either of them has expected ...


In topic, this is a film that has 1970s written all over it, and pretty much couldn't be made today without causing a major controversy. But that said, this film does nothing to promote sex with underage girls (actually rather the contrary if you read between the lines) but puts the focus on telling a story about a love (maybe only an imagined love) doomed from the start, without condemning one side or the other or driving some message home with a sledgehammer. And a subtle yet compassionate directorial effort as well as very relatable central performances make this film work quite as well as it does.

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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD