Van Houten and Van der Oest in South Africa
by Boyd van Hoeij
Since her international breakthrough in Paul Verhoeven’s Black Book [+see also:
film profile], Dutch star actress Carice van Houten, has kept firing on all cylinders. Besides starring roles in big local films such as A Woman Goes to the Doctor [+see also:
film profile] and the upcoming The Happy Housewife [+see also:
film profile], she has also worked on US and British productions such as Black Death, Valkyrie and this week’s new US release, Repo Men.
The busy actress is currently in South Africa for her latest project, Black Butterflies, which stands somewhere midway between her English-language and her Dutch projects. Directed by Dutch film-maker Paula van der Oest, whose Zus & Zo was nominated for an Oscar in 2003, the international co-production tells the story of the late South African poet Ingrid Jonker.
Written by South African actor-screenwriter Greg Latter, who also penned Bille August’s Mandela drama Goodbye Bafana [+see also:
film profile], the film looks at the life of the Afrikaans-language poet whose work posthumously gained notoriety when Nelson Mandela read one of her poems in his first speech for South African parliament in 1994.
Jonker, who died in 1965, is often called the South African Sylvia Plath, and like her committed suicide after a turbulent life.
For the project, Van Houten is joined by Dutch icon Rutger Hauer, who plays her stern father, a cabinet minister during the Apartheid. Irish actor Liam Cunningham (The Wind that Shakes the Barley, Hunger [+see also:
interview: Laura Hastings-Smith Robi…
interview: Steve McQueen
film profile] [+see also:
interview: Ken Loach
interview: Rebecca O’Brien
film profile]), co-stars as the love of her life, writer Jack Cope.
Filming started at the beginning of this month in Cape Town and will wrap at the end of April.
The film involves producers Richard Claus (Cool Beans, Comet Film, Germany); Michael Auret (Spier Films, South Africa); Frans van Gestel and Arnold Heslenfeld (IDTV Film, Netherlands) and Arry Voorsmit (Riba Film, Netherlands). Dutch broadcaster NPS is also on board, and the project is backed by Netherlands Film Fund, the CoBO fund and the Department of Trade and Industry of South Africa.