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The Forbidden Quest

Peter Delpeut
Netherlands 1993 / 70’

An old man and the sea: in 1931, an aging ship carpenter tells his interviewer about the harrowing 1905 voyage of the famously disappeared ship ‘Hollandia’, recounting a journey across water and land, Antarctic expanses, and over physical and psychological limits. The Forbidden Quest plays out on two overlapping levels: the carpenter’s tale is intertwined with seamlessly edited historical footage from various real expeditions, presented as films preserved by the protagonist, but in fact taken from old film reels that director Delpeut discovered in a Dutch archive. A mockumentary that spins a tale worthy of Jules Verne, the film is also a tribute to early documentary filmmakers and an attempt to rescue the disappearing records of an era.


Nederlands FF 1993 – Special Jury Prize; Fantasporto 1994 – International Fantasy Film Special Jury Award for Best Film

Peter Delpeut

Peter Delpeut was born in Vianen, the Netherlands in 1956. He attended the Netherlands Film and Television Academy. In 1982–1988 he edited the film journal ‘Skrien’. In 1988–1995, he was the programmer and deputy-director of the Netherlands Filmmuseum, a position that had much to do with his filmmaking style. Delpeut frequently uses found footage to add an authentic historical dimension to his works with sequences from long-forgotten archival films. Aside form The Forbidden Quest, he has used similar techniques in making Lyrical Nitrate (1991) and Diva Dolorosa (1999).

Selected filmography

1984 Emma Zunz

1991 Lyrisch nitraat / Lyrical Nitrate (doc.)

1993 Zakazana wyprawa / The Forbidden Quest

1999 Diva Dolorosa (doc.)

2001 In Loving Memory (doc.)

Cast & Crew

director Peter Delpeut
screenplay Peter Delpeut
cinematography Stef Tijdink
editing Menno Boerema
music Loek Dikker
cast Joseph O’Conor, Roy Ward
producer Suzanne van Voorst, Frank Jansen
production Ariel Film
sales Fortissimo Films
language English
colouration colour & b&w