De filmbewerking van Jan Terlouws jeugdroman Koning van Katoren (1971) als uiting van een evoluerende jeugdfilmcultuur
: The Film Adaption of Jan Terlouws Youth Novel Koning van Katoren (1971) as an Expression of Evolving Youth Film Culture

  • Marc Lenaerts

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    he research subjects of this thesis are Jan Terlouw's successful children's book Koning van Katoren (1971) and its 2012 film adaptation of the same name by director Ben Sombogaart. This research is placed within the framework of the relatively new academic discipline surrounding the adaptation of 'texts'.
    The main question underlying this thesis is: To what extent does the adaptation strategy of the film based on Jan Terlouw's children's novel Koning van Katoren connect to developments within contemporary Dutch youth film culture?
    First of all, the adaptation strategy used by the filmmaker to transform the novel text into a film text is examined. Answering this question gives a clear view on the definitive 'character' of the film. In order to find an answer to this first part of the main question, a close reading is used in examining both the novel text and the film text. The research methodology is further based on Maria Theresa Leuker's views on the structure of narrative texts. Leuker distinguishes three levels within narrative texts, specifically the level of history, the level of story, and the level of the text of the story.
    Based on this part of the research, it was found that a number of changes were made by the filmmakers on these three distinct levels (see section 3.2). As a result, both in terms of content (i.e., social criticism) and in terms of cinematic formal language, a topical editing strategy was employed.
    With regard to the social criticism content of the film, this manifests itself in an allegorically embedded social criticism that is meaningful to the period in which the film was created. The social criticism in Terlouw's book, on the other hand, relates mainly to the period of the 1970s in which the book appeared, although a number of social themes - undermining of democracy, imbalance between rich and poor, money culture - appear to be of all times. In the film adaptation, a number of characters and events have also been added, which together form a number of new socio-critical motifs, specific to the era of the film's creation: bureaucracy, increasing censorship, and the dangers and influence of mass media. This too can be seen as an actualizing adaptation strategy.
    In terms of cinematic formal language, it appears that in addition to the embedded social criticism, the filmmakers sought to connect with their target audience. This is expressed through the depiction of protagonists who fit in with the world of young viewers, a good dose of tension, action and adventure and an additional storyline in which the relationship between the protagonists Stach and Kim is of more importance than in the book.
    After it has been established which adaptation strategy was used and to what result this has led, this research will further examine - after mapping out the development of the Dutch youth film culture to date - to what extent the film adaptation fits in with the prevailing tendencies within the contemporary Dutch youth film landscape. This trend is essentially characterized by a high degree of professionalization, broadening and differentialization. A range of youth films arose in which adventure, suspense, coming of age, war, social criticism, fantasy, horror, romance or action often predominated and sometimes even a combination of a number of these aspects. My research shows that Sombogaart, with his film version of Terlouw's Koning van Katoren, shows himself to be a child of his time and thus fits in with the prevailing trends within the youth film landscape of his time.
    Date of Award23 Nov 2021
    Original languageDutch
    SupervisorJan Oosterholt (Supervisor) & Marjolein van Herten (Examiner)


    • letterkunde
    • Jan Terlow
    • Koning van Katoren
    • evoluerende jeugdfilmcultuur

    Master's Degree

    • Master Kunst en Cultuurwetenschappen

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