Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Queen of Amsterdam aka Chez Nous

This delightful feel-good Dutch gay movie has blended elements of  ‘Mission Impossible’ with those of ‘La Cage Aux Follies’ that results in a very camp and decidedly old-fashioned jewel-heist comic caper. It all starts at the Chez Nous Bar in Voetboogstraat Alley in the center of Amsterdam where Bertie is the reigning Drag Queen on the stage whilst Adje the old owner is in the back office hiding all the bills he cannot afford to pay.  When Adje is taken ill they discover that he has a heart attack and is on death’s door but back in the bar they uncover the fact that he is virtually bankrupt and the loutish homophobic De Beer who runs a neighbouring straight bar wants to buy him out.

None of the odd assortment of regular customers who treat the Bar as a second home have a single Euro between them but they are all determined so somehow save the place.  There is Peter-Jan a handsome lawyer whose wealthy father won’t give him a cent until he gets married like his brothers (i.e. to a women), heterosexual Gijs who has a struggling glass blowing business right across the street where he lives with his wife and two children but prefers to spend every minute of his day and night with all the gay men in Chez Nous; Rashid an immigrant who has been thrown out of his home by his parents when he came out to them; and Babette the straight bartender who still thinks she may find a boyfriend working in a gay bar.
Adje has been Bertie’s father figure as he never knew his real father and has always fantasized about secretly being the son of Dutch 1980’s superstar (and gay icon) Anita Meyer. When Adje reveals the name of Bertie’s Pa on his deathbed Peter-Jan however has the idea of locating him, and it turns out the man has such a long criminal record and has spent most of the missing years behind bars.

The fact that Helmer’s (Bertie Snr) speciality was daring robberies gives the group the crazy idea of stealing a rare priceless necklace from the Royal Museum where conveniently Rashid works as a Security Guard.  Helmer decides that the perfect time to execute the plan would be during Gay Pride Day when the entire city goes wild.  It also makes for one outrageous colorful ‘car chase’ along Amsterdam’s canals amongst the packed celebrating crowds.

Dutch filmmaker Tim Oliehoek has made a wholesome movie that will deliberately appeal way beyond a gay audience.  There are no real surprises in this charming entertaining eurocentric comedy  ….. even Babette manages to get a boyfriend ….. and Bertie with the proceeds of the heist just doesn’t gain a Bar, and a father, but also the mother that he always wanted.
It’s all great fun, but why the original cosy title of ‘Chez Nous’ morphed into the much clumsier ‘The Queen of Amsterdam’ is beyond me!

Posted by queerguru  at  02:35


Genres:  comedy

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