The Discovery of Heaven is the largest film production ever made in the Netherlands. Based on Harry Mulisch' world famous novel with the same title, its international cast
and intriguing plot drove a record public to the film theatres. The film, directed by Jeroen Krabbé, won a Platinum Film Award and will be released throughout Europe and the United States next year.
God has finally given up on humanity and has decided to break His covenant with them. In order to do that, the Ten Commandments must be returned to Heaven.
A young Angel (Viv Weatherall) is assigned to carry out this task. However, the Angel can't just go to earth and pick them up. He needs a human intermediary, who is capable of finding the Testimonial and willing to bring it back. The young Angel instigates World War One and Two, the Cuban Crisis and the Vietnam war in order for the right people to meet, fall in love, and have children, who will in turn meet the right mates for them to have a child, and so on. All in order to ultimately create the chosen one.
By the mid sixties the Angel has almost reached his goal. Two men, Onno Quist (Stephen Fry) and Max Delius (Greg Wise), meet; they believe by chance but of course it is the work of the Angel. They become best friends who spend all their free time together, until they encounter, by chance they believe, a beautiful young woman, Ada Brons (Flora Montgomery). At first she is shy and innocent, putting all her passion and imagination into playing her cello. But Max charms her into her first affair and she moves in with him. As Max comes to realize he loves her, he clumsily offends her and she turns to his best friend, Onno, to eventually move in with him. Invited to Cuba to perform on her cello, Ada uses the trip as an opportunity to bring the two friends together again. Max and Onno join her there, and unbeknownst to each other, each man makes love to her on the same moonlit night, within hours of each other.
A few weeks later, she discovers she's pregnant. Onno assumes he's the father, Max fears that he might be and confronts Ada about the possibility, insisting she has an abortion. She's too full of joy at the prospect of having a child, and doesn't care who the father is. In her seventh month, Ada is the victim of what appears to be a freak car accident. She ends up in a coma, the child taken from her by a Cesarean section. It's a boy, whom Onno names Quinten. In despair at the loss of his wife, and feeling inadequate to the challenge of raising a child, Onno is relieved when Max volunteers to rear the boy with the help of Ada's mother (Diana Quick).
Quinten (Neil Newbon) develops into a brilliant but solitary child, who hardly ever interacts with other children. He longs to live with the man he believes is his father, Onno, who meanwhile has become an important politician.
When Quinten turns sixteen, he leaves his home with Max, against Max's wishes, to go live with Onno. But fate intervenes once more, and Onno's fiancée (Emma Fielding) is murdered before Quinten's eyes. A broken man now, Onno gives up his career and breaks all ties with everyone, including the boy he believes is his son. No one knows where he has gone, and Onno never tries to contact them. After a year, Quinten sets out to find him, though he has no idea where to start.
Quinten's trip takes him to Rome. As fate would have it, and does, Onno is in Rome as well. The two meet and are happily reunited. Quinten feels, however, that he's not only in Rome to find his father, but for another purpose as well, one he believes is being revealed to him by the architecture and art, the monuments and historical sites, the very stones of the eternal city itself.
Ultimately Quinten claims he knows that the two stone tablets on which God wrote the Ten Commandments for Moses, are not lost as legend has it, but remain hidden right there, in Rome. Together with Onno they break into a holy site and in the dark of night recover the Testimonial.
Possessing the ultimate relic of Christianity is fraught with more danger than having the most powerful human weapon of destruction. Quinten and Onno fortuitously escape to Israel, where Quinten feels he must return the Tablets to their original place in The Golden Dome of Jerusalem. Onno makes every effort to stop him, sensing that the boy's endeavor will lead to serious and irreversible consequences. Onno almost succeeds in keeping Quinten from returning the tables, until the Angels interfere one more time...
|Stephen Fry - Onno Quist
||Gosford Park, Wilde, A bit of Fry and Laurie (TV), Blackadder (TV)
|Greg Wise - Max Delius
||Sense and Sensibility, Sirens (TV), Madame Bovary (TV)
|Flora Montgomery - Ada Brons
||When Brendan Met Trudy, Mosley (TV), Monarch of the Glen (TV)
|Neil Newbon - Quinten Quist
||Dalziel & Pascoe (TV), Wycliffe (TV), The Shoot Horses Don't They? (Theatre)
|Diana Quick - Sophia Brons
||Saving Grace, The Aristocrats (TV), Brideshead Revisited (TV)
|Jeroen Krabbé - Gabriel
||The Fugitive, The Living Daylights, Left Luggage
|Ate de Jong
|Edwin de Vries
||Screenplay and associate producer
||Dir. of photography