7.5/10
3,593
14 user 2 critic
In the 1890s, Father Adolf Daens goes to Aalst, a textile town where child labor is rife, pay and working conditions are horrible, the poor have no vote, and the Catholic church backs the ... See full summary »

Director:

Stijn Coninx

Writers:

Fernand Auwera (scenario), Louis Paul Boon (novel) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Koko Flanel (1990)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Placide's dad tells him on his deathbed he'll haunt him if he doesn't find a woman soon. When he accidentally enters a photo shoot, Placide meets Sarah.

Directors: Stijn Coninx, Jef Van de Water
Stars: Urbanus, Bea Van Der Maat, Willeke van Ammelrooy
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Vincke and Verstuyft are the best detectives of the Antwerp police department. They are confronted with the murder on a leading executive and put all their effort to catch the murderer.

Director: Erik Van Looy
Stars: Koen De Bouw, Werner De Smedt, Jan Decleir
Hector (1987)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Hector had been in the orphanage for 35 years, until his aunt Ella and uncle Achiel pick him up. They want him to work at their bakery. At his new home he also helps training Achiel's son, ... See full summary »

Director: Stijn Coninx
Stars: Urbanus, Sylvia Millecam, Frank Aendenboom
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Matty, a 41-year old mother of three with a husband in his midlife-crisis, meets 29-year old Johnny, a truck driver, who takes an interest in her.

Director: Christophe Van Rompaey
Stars: Barbara Sarafian, Jurgen Delnaet, Johan Heldenbergh
Dossier K. (2009)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Vincke and Verstuyft are detectives of the Antwerp police department. This time they have to deal with the Albanian mob and some problems in their own police division.

Director: Jan Verheyen
Stars: Koen De Bouw, Werner De Smedt, Blerim Destani
Tangier (2006)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In August 1996, bus drivers Marcel Van Loock and Wim Moreels are apprehended by the Moroccan Customs for drug trafficking. Inside their bus, hidden behind a false compartment, they have ... See full summary »

Director: Frank van Mechelen
Stars: Nadia Abdelouafi, Mohamed Bari, Rachid Benbouchta
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

13-year-old Gunther Strobbe grows up surrounded by alcohol, trash and his completely useless father and uncles. Slowly but surely, he's being prepared for the same hapless life. Can he defy his destiny?

Director: Felix van Groeningen
Stars: Kenneth Vanbaeden, Valentijn Dhaenens, Koen De Graeve
Marina (2013)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The true story of Rocco Granata, an Italian coal miner's son who followed his passion for music against his father's wishes and social barriers.

Director: Stijn Coninx
Stars: Luigi Lo Cascio, Donatella Finocchiaro, Matteo Simoni
De slimste mens ter wereld (TV Series 2003)
Game-Show
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Entertaining and humorous quiz where famous Belgians compete to be "the smartest man on earth"

Stars: Erik Van Looy, Philippe Geubels, Rik Torfs
Niet Schieten (2018)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In one fell swoop, nine-year old David Van de Steen lost his mother, his father and his sister in an attack by the Brabant Killers in Aalst. His grandfather, Albert, has the well-nigh ... See full summary »

Director: Stijn Coninx
Stars: Jan Decleir, Viviane de Muynck, Mo Bakker
Bullhead (2011)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Sint-Truiden, Belgium. Jacky, a young cattle farmer who is constantly pumped on steroids and hormones, is approached by a veterinarian to make a deal with a notorious beef trader.

Director: Michaël R. Roskam
Stars: Matthias Schoenaerts, Jeroen Perceval, Jeanne Dandoy
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

A tragicomedy about the everyday life of a butchers family Vangenechten. The business is running fine until the son returns home after a long time. He wants to learn more about the butchers... See full summary »

Stars: Koen De Graeve, Mieke De Groote, Reinhilde Decleir
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jan Decleir ... Adolf Daens
Gérard Desarthe Gérard Desarthe ... Charles Woeste
Antje de Boeck ... Nette Scholliers
Michael Pas Michael Pas ... Jan De Meeter
Karel Baetens Karel Baetens ... Jefke
Julien Schoenaerts Julien Schoenaerts ... Bishop Stillemans
Wim Meuwissen Wim Meuwissen ... Pieter Daens
Brit Alen Brit Alen ... Louise Daens
Johan Leysen ... Schmitt
Idwig Stephane Idwig Stephane ... Eugene Borremans
Linda van Dyck Linda van Dyck ... Elizabeth Borremans (as Linda van Dijck)
Jappe Claes Jappe Claes ... Ponnet
Brenda Bertin Brenda Bertin ... Marie
Alex Wilequet Alex Wilequet ... Monsignor Goossens
Rik Hancké Rik Hancké ... Nuncio
Edit

Storyline

In the 1890s, Father Adolf Daens goes to Aalst, a textile town where child labor is rife, pay and working conditions are horrible, the poor have no vote, and the Catholic church backs the petite bourgeoisie in oppressing workers. He writes a few columns for the Catholic paper, and soon workers are listening and the powerful are in an uproar. He's expelled from the Catholic party, so he starts the Christian Democrats and is elected to Parliament. After Rome disciplines him, he must choose between two callings, as priest and as champion of workers. In subplots, a courageous young woman falls in love with a socialist and survives a shop foreman's rape; children die; prelates play billiards. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

Belgium | France | Netherlands

Language:

Flemish | Dutch | French | Latin | Spanish

Release Date:

25 February 1993 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

A Oposição See more »

Filming Locations:

Piotrkow, Poland See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Julien Schoenaerts (Bishop Stillemans) and Matthias Schoenaerts (Wannes Scholliers), are father and son in real life, but didn't share scenes in the film. See more »

Alternate Versions

There is a version spanning a total of 196 minutes. Mostly shown as a four part mini-series. See more »

Connections

Version of Musical daens (2008) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Classic Belgian film still holds up
5 July 2003 | by captain-howdySee all my reviews

This is considered as undoubtedly the most important Belgian film ever made, a cinematic event in its home country when it came out. People flocked to see it, awards were bestowed on it, students wrote term papers about it, everybody talked about it, every school showed it to its students (and they still do, more than ten years later), and its director, Stijn Coninx, even got made a baron on the strength of it. Even so, Coninx was never really able to live down the reputation of "director of Daens". In a country with basically no film tradition to speak of, a movie like Daens is a once-in-a-lifetime achievement, if only because they'll never allow you to spend that much money again, even if it did earn it back. One cannot help but feel that had he made the equivalent of this one in America, he'd be one the biggest directors around today.

The story is about a courageous, socially feeling priest who went against church authorities and the political powers that be (heavily interlinked at the end of the 19th century) to help the impoverished workers of Aalst, Belgium. Although romanticised somewhat, and even with the addition of certain characters to strengthen the dramatic arc of the movie, this is based on a true story. Coninx did absolutely amazing things with a limited budget to bring the era back to life, and his camera lingers tellingly in the dirty, narrow little streets where the workers were packed together, entire families with hordes of children living in one room. We also get to see the factories, dangerous places, where people spend twelve or more hours a day for scraps off the tables of the wealthy factory owners. All of this is brought to life in a completely convincing way, immersing you in the period.

Coninx' control as a director here is remarkable. Without any real money (certainly by US standards), he manages to pull off a story of epic scope that looks and feels exactly as it should. Consider a scene set in the palace of the king, where an opulent dinner is going on, served by black people brought over from what was then Belgian Congo. "Are they dangerous?," one of the women asks. Lesser directors might have hammered the point home by going on about it, but Coninx doesn't. He lets this one simple line stand, lets it speak for itself and moves on. This way, he's able to pack in a surprising amount of stuff in the 135 minutes running time, and it doesn't feel rushed or hurried, but on the other hand, very natural. Visually too, this scene is as striking as any, showcasing the luxury of the wealthy as opposed to the squalor of the poor. And again Coninx doesn't make a point of it, he doesn't give in to the temptation of making self-conscious cuts or moving the camera that way. He just lets it be, keeps things simple.

Jan Decleir gives a powerful performance as Adolf Daens, who comes off as a brilliant orator, an almost saintly figure who heeds no warnings and goes on in the face of public humiliation, ex-communication and even physical violence. This is probably a simplification of the truth (it's hard to believe anyone is THAT perfect), but the power Decleir brings to the role makes it work.

There are some minor problems, however. The screenwriters and directors seem to have a somewhat naive belief in the socialist party of the time, as a well-meaning boys' club that basically says the same things Daens says throughout the movie. And there are some scenes that feel phony, such as an unbelievably corny moment in a field, when one the characters rides along on a bike, yelling extacically that Daens has just been elected to parliament. Cut to a shot of an old man falling to his knees with pure joy, as the triumphant music swells. Sorry, but that's just a bit too much.

All in all this is a movie deserving of its status as classic in Belgium, and very much worth seeing where ever you're from. Back here, we've been beaten over the head with this movie so many times that a lot of people must almost know it by heart, but then that's not the movies fault.


14 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 14 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed