Reinstating a consensus of blame: The film adaptation of Tessa de Loo’s De Tweeling (1993) and Dutch memories of wartime

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Jenny Watson (Swansea) investigates Ben Sombogaart’s film Twin Sisters (2002), an adaptation of Tessa de Loo’s best-selling 1994 novel The Twins (De tweeling), which contrasts Dutch and German experiences of the Second World War. By comparing the movie with the novel,Watson assesses how the priorities of heritage cinema led to fundamental plot changes, transforming De Loo’s text, which challenged established narratives of Dutch wartime history, into one that maintains traditional views of the past. The film’s reinstating of a ‘consensus of blame’ is most strongly discernible in the largely missing portrayal of the German wartime experience that played such an important role in the novel, and in the portrayal of the German character Anna, whose culpability is exaggerated by filmic as well as narrative devices. Moreover, the choice to adapt The Twins in the form of a romance emphasises cultural memories of Dutch wartime suffering, and reveals heritage cinema’s dual commitment to presenting an easily digestible view of national history to both national and international audiences.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDiscord and Consensus in the Low Countries, 1700-2000
EditorsGerdi Quist, Ulrich Tiedau, Jane Fenoulhet
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherUCL Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781910634318, 9781910634325, 9781910634332
ISBN (Print)9781910634295, 9781910634301
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameGlobal Dutch: Studies in Low Countries Culture and History
PublisherUCL Press


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