Arnold Heslenfeld, Frans van Gestel
Gijs Scholten van Aschat, Jacob Derwig, Laurette Schillings, Rifka Lodeizen
PUBLIC WORKS – based on Thomas Rosenboom’s best-selling novel – is an epic historical drama about the cousins’ Vedder and Anijs struggle to move up in life. The film tells the tragicomic story of two bourgeois men, who at the end of the 19th century, the time of burgeoning class consciousness, wish to rise above their station, but whose wings are scorched and come hurtling down to earth. The story is told against the backdrop of major social changes caused by the industrial revolution.
1888. A luthier – Vedder (Gijs Scholten van Aschat) – has to step aside when his home opposite the recently completed Central Station in Amsterdam, must yield for the planned Victoria Hotel. His cousin Anijs (Jacob Derwig), pharmacist in the Northern provinces of the Netherlands, has gotten into a fix after illegal medical practices, and is looking for a way out. For himself and for his wife Martha (Rifka Lodeizen), but alsof for a colony of poor peat cutters whom he promises a future in the United States. Committed – or is it pride? – the two of them think up a scheme from which they all will fully benefit. With tragic consequences.