Spectator is one of the early masterpieces by Zwartjes. The film explicitly shows one of Frans Zwartjes’ main themes: the relationship between husband and wife. It is a relationship that is strongly marked by power and domination, sexual attraction and repulsion. It manifests itself in humiliation and abuse (such Pentimento), but also in cool eroticism or natural physicality.
Zwartjes’ goal is not to explain or designate this relationship. Rather it is the subject that Zwartjes uses to describe his world. In an article on Zwartjes, filmmaker and student George Schouten compares Zwartjes to the Italian writer Alberto Moravia. For both, sex is their way of dealing with reality. It is the subject by which they define their world. And for Zwartjes, it is also the subject with which he can display and develop his cinematic talent.