LanguageDutchWest FrisianEnglish Release date22 May 1992 WriterDon Bloch, Rudi van Dantzig (novel), Roeland Kerbosch Initial releaseMay 22, 1992 (Netherlands) ScreenplayRoeland Kerbosch, Don Bloch CastMaarten Smit (Jeroen Boman), Jeroen Krabbé (Jeroen Boman (adult)), Andrew Kelley (Walt Cook), Freark Smink (Hait), Elsje de Wijn (Mem), Derk-Jan Kroon (Jan) Similar moviesThe Pianist, J. Edgar, Hart's War, The Thin Red Line, Patton, Johnny Minotaur
For a Lost Soldier (Dutch title: Voor een Verloren Soldaat) is a 1992 Dutch film based upon the autobiographical novel of the same title by ballet dancer and choreographer Rudi van Dantzig. It deals with the romantic/sexual relationship between a 12-year-old boy (Van Dantzig) and a Canadian soldier during the final months leading up to the liberation of the Netherlands from Nazi occupation during World War II.
Jeroen (Jeroen Krabbé) reminisces about the time in 1944 when he (Maarten Smit) and other boys were sent to the countryside by their parents to escape the war. The city suffers from food shortages, with more food available in the country. He stays with an eel fisher's family, but despite the abundance of food, he is plagued by homesickness. Jeroen and his friend Jan go to the ocean and see an American plane in the water; Jan tries to go under but claims there are too many eels and comes up with a big cut on his upper right thigh.
Things change when the village is liberated by Canadian troops. Jeroen meets Walt Cook (Andrew Kelley), a Canadian soldier in his early 20s, who befriends him. Walt at first treats Jeroen like a little brother, and the boy revels in the attention the soldier showers on him. Eventually, however, their relationship becomes sexual. They also engage in friendly, platonic activities, with Jeroen driving Walt's jeep and cleaning his guns. Jeroen's foster parents are aware of the closeness between the boy and Walt, but it is left ambiguous whether they are aware of the sexual nature of the relationship.
After a few more days, Walt's troops are ordered to move and Walt leaves without saying goodbye to Jeroen. Jeroen hears about it from his foster sisters that they are leaving and he rushes to the soldiers' home, but finds that they have already left. (The film suggests that Walt attempts to tell Jeroen's foster father the prior evening that the troops would be leaving, but gives up when the language barrier becomes obvious.) Jeroen searches throughout town, unable to find any trace of Walt, and is further devastated when he returns home and sees that the shirt where he had stored a photo of Walt was on a clothesline in the rain, ruining the photo. Later that night, Jeroen is lying awake in his bed and notices Walt's dog tag on a scarecrow that had posed as "Walt" in a photo with his foster family, and races outside to grab the tag. However, Jeroen touches pigeon wire on the scarecrow and badly hurts his hand. He collapses in tears, clearly heartbroken, and is taken inside by his foster father. The next morning, his foster father notices the sunglasses that Walt left on the wire while burning the scarecrow. After the war is over, Jeroen returns to his family back in Amsterdam, where he decides to go to America later in his life.
The film ends with grown-up Jeroen affectionately recalling the story and trying to express it as a ballet dance. While rehearsing the dance, his assistant hands him an envelope. He opens the envelope to find an enlargement of the only photo of him and the foster family and also a further enlargement of the soldier's dog tag with his identification. He realizes that he can now find his lost soldier after all this time.
During one scene, a Canadian flag is shown, but it is the Maple Leaf Flag, which was not adopted until 1965. The correct flag used at the time of the Second World War would have been the Canadian Red Ensign.