Five-year-old Koertje, born with a club-foot, is tormented by children calling him Mankpoot ("Dot-and-go-one"). In the attic of his home in Amsterdam he has created for himself a dreamworld in which his toys are his playmates, his favourite being the hobgoblin with whom he has lengthy conversations. The only outsiders given entry are his adoring parents, father Koert and mother Riek. Koert, an electrician, works in a factory and tries to earn extra money by assembling a radio, because Riek is awaiting a happy event. Koertje has been told how a stork will bring him a little brother or sister. While looking at his picture-books, Koertje sees ducks swimming, frogs jumping and a stork dropping a baby down the chimney, but when his sister does arrive, she is quite different from what he had imagined.

When father Koert loses his temper during an argument and strikes the manager, he is summarily dismissed. Thereafter he can find no work. Riek writes a letter to her sister in Heerlen and receives an answer saying that there is plenty of work in the coal-mines. While his parents are packing their belongings, Koertje blows soap-bubbles in which he sees the presents he was hoping to get for his birthday. Alas, the bubbles burst. In Heerlen, Koert becomes accustomed to the hard life of a miner. Riek, however, has a premonition of approaching disaster and reproaches herself for having persuaded her husband to leave Amsterdam. Angry after a quarrel with a relative, Koert fails to exercise the necessary care when preparing a detonation. A choke-damp explosion results in his death. When Riek hears the news, she rushes blindly to the mine. She trips over a rail and is fatally wounded when her head strikes another rail. Koertje's relatives try to conceal the truth from the orphaned child. In his imagination the little dreamer sees the shapes of his beloved mama and papa beckoning him with outstretched arms, but as the tears trickle down his cheeks he is finally confronted with bitter reality.


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Netherlands, Germany
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Black & White


G. Donaldson, Of Joy and Sorrow. A Filmography of Dutch Silent Fiction, Amsterdam (1997), pp. 261-262

Centrale Commissie voor de Filmkeuring (Nationaal Archief; 3095)

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