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Fons Rademakers, 86; Dutch director made `The Assault'

February 23, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Fons Rademakers, the director whose 1986 movie "The Assault" won an Academy Award for best foreign language film, died Thursday of emphysema in Amsterdam. He was 86.

Rademakers was known for his theatrical narrative style, and he was one of a small number of filmmakers from the Netherlands -- including "Basic Instinct" director Paul Verhoeven -- to produce a large number of full-budget feature films over a long career.

"The Assault" or "De Aanslag," which also won a Golden Globe, tells the story of a young boy whose family is killed by Germans during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands because they are wrongly believed to have been involved in the killing of a collaborator.

Rademakers also was known for the 1976 film "Max Havelaar," about corruption and exploitation in Indonesia during the era of Dutch colonial rule.

Both movies, and others that Rademakers made, were based on classic Dutch novels, and his work was sometimes criticized as derivative.

"Well, you know, Shakespeare and Moliere didn't create their subjects either," he said after winning the Oscar.

Alphonse Marie Rademakers was born Sept. 5, 1920, in Roosendaal, the Netherlands, and studied acting at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Amsterdam.

He was drafted into the Dutch army in World War II and was captured by the Germans but released because actors were not deemed threatening. He did not return to combat, and in 1943 he fled to Switzerland.

After the war, he began working with filmmakers Vittorio De Sica and Jean Renoir and directed and acted in stage productions before making his first movie: "Village on the River." That garnered his first Academy Award nomination, for best foreign language film in 1959.

His last film released in the United States was "The Rose Garden," a 1989 English-language movie starring Liv Ullmann, Maximilian Schell and Peter Fonda that studied the lasting effects of the Holocaust.

Rademakers is survived by his wife, Lili, and sons Fons and Alfred.

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