Max Havelaar is an idealistic yet naive Dutch colonial official in 19th century Indonesia who truly believes that he is going to civilize and improve the lives of the people under his administration. Unfortunately, he isn’t really plugged into the local culture. Those directly oppressing the people are not so much the Dutch colonial officials as the venal and corrupt native rulers. At first, he is led to believe that his reformist ideas have the sanction of his superiors, but he runs into a stone wall and eventual abandonment and dismissal when he begins to threaten the vested interests of both the colonialists and the local sultan, who he eventually realizes are in cahoots with each other. His actions bring about a rebellion, for which he is blamed. This results in even worse repression, and causes the breakup of his family and ostracism from his own society. —IMDb.com
Fons Rademakers, born on 5 September 1920 in Roosendaal, started his career as actor and theatre
Rademakers, who studied at the Amsterdam Academy of Dramatic Arts and began his career as an actor, was drafted into the Dutch army in the second world war, and was captured by the Germans but released because “they considered that actors were not threatening.” In 1943 he fled to Switzerland, where he spent the rest of the war.
Returning to Amsterdam, he joined a theatre company, before deciding, at the age of 35, that he wanted to direct films. He therefore became second assistant director to Jean Renoir, Vittorio De Sica and Charles Crichton before embarking on Village by the River. This focused on an eccentric doctor who settles in a village on the banks of the Meuse early in the 20th century. He dedicates himself to caring for the poor and puncturing the pomposity of the local authorities, of whom he eventually falls foul. Based on an Antoon Coolen novel… read more