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Documentary: Foute Vrienden

This one is mainly for the people that are (or understand) Dutch as the documentary is in Dutch (no subtitles as far as i know). About a year and a half ago Holland Doc broadcasted the documentary ‘Foute Vrienden’ (Wrong Friends). About four Amsterdam ‘penoza’ (which basically means everyone that is in crime) who are followed by a documentary maker in the early and mid 90’s up until recently. These four men try to stay out of true crime but their hunger for freedom usually results in them being involved in cases they probably shouldn’t be involved in.

Of these four men ‘Verbrande Herman’ (Burned Herman, a name he got when he saved two people from a burning house) is the big guy, he owns a sex club and is most successful. Until he has to close down his club and ends up on a death list which results in him having to hide and flee for years. Jantje has a big mouth and a small heart, but he keeps saying you shouldn’t fuck with him because then he gets dangerous. He has a rather intense love-hate relationship with Hermien and there are Rooie Jos (Red Jos) who tries to make it in the music business but is also into women and fraud. And Dikke Bobbie (Fat Bobbie). After the early years where he followed them closely the documentary maker is in touch with the four guys off and on for a couple of years and decides to reunite them after about 20 years since starting to follow them.

The documentary gives a great 90’s vibe (just as the movie Simon did..if you haven’t seen it, check it out) and shows these men in their prime, being rich and ‘feared’, thinking they can take on the world, and during their sometimes harrowing decline (especially the part of Herman and the Salvation Army moved me) and rather sad (in some cases at least) current situations. In 2011 it won a prize for best documentary, and i think it deserved that as i really liked this documentary.


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