Review Film Marathon

HEAVY THEMES IN A LIGHT STYLE

Michiel Bulthuis

Seven graduate films by the Nederlandse Film en Televisie Academie [transl. Dutch Film and Television Academy] The premiere is over and the first nerves have ebbed. There is nothing to be ashamed of for the students of the Nederlandse Film en Televisie Academie. The seven films screened during ITs make up a colorful collection. This year, many leading parts have been given to children, just as in the children’s series Het Mysterie van de Volle Maan [transl. The Mystery of the Full Moon]. Five children with the aid of a magical book have to defeat all kinds of monsters. In this episode, they face a werewolf. The big difference with the other movies is the extensive use of special effects. Every trick of the trade is used to make the show as youthful as possible, in which they succeed. The episode emanates the feeling of a children’s series. The kids are smart and their tiresome parents are troubling them in their pursuit of saving the world. Of course, there is also a scary man in a long leather jacket who eventually turns out to be a good guy. Het Mysterie van de Volle Maan could just as well turn out be a success. The most personal film is Wes, an autobiographical film about a growing up too fast. The inexperienced actor Wesley Rietkerken excels as the eleven-year-old boy that is about to lose his mother. By using his natural acting style, Wesley tries to show how Wes strives to be both a child and a grownup. A big story excellently told in a short amount of time. Sacha Draait [transl. Sacha Turns] is different. This film is about a young woman struggling in her quest for love. In the pottery workshop in which she works, a play of attraction and rejection originates between Sacha and her boss John. The story is not done justice, as the situation is so complex that is just needs more time to be told. In the movie’s thirty minutes, the audience is granted almost no chance to sympathize with Sascha. It is made clear that she is mentally unstable, yet she gives almost no motive to feel sorry for her. Every now and then she does. The scene in which she is cozies up the workshop, there is a glimpse of the true Sacha. Constructed and depicted equally beautiful. Blijf bij me, weg [transl. Stay with me, Gone] is meant to be an experiment. The story was predetermined, although all dialogues were improvised. Apparently, a strong framework is all that a good film needs. A hefty fight sets the mood in the first scene. The apparently futile dialogues in the following four scenes tell everything without explicitly telling something. A powerful quality of narration. A successful experiment. Iliriania is this year’s most abstract film, except without ever becoming vague. After the war, the Kosovarian painter Migjén is left with only his daughter. He leaves for the Netherlands with her to rebuild their lives. As she starts going to school, the old traumas flare up. Migjén’s internal struggle is represented through symbols. He, along with the audience, shifts between reality and the world in his head. The viewer becomes part of his emotions and thoughts. This works surprisingly well. The moment he conquers his trauma turns out to be liberating for the audience as well. This year’s highlights are Bingo and Jacco’s Film. Bingo is a Moldavian gypsy that leaves for the Netherlands and ends up living in illegality. Along with the Russian Sergei and the Chechen Umar he earns a wage by demolishing houses. From the get-go, the movie captivates by its boyish playfulness and subtle humor. This light style does not obfuscate the seriousness of the story rather it enhances it. Bingo is a tough fellow. Despite the barren circumstances, he stays positive. The audience is hit hard as an accident further disorders his live. Bingo is easy to watch, hard to let go of. Jacco’s Film also brings a heavy theme in a light style, now from the viewpoint of a ten-year-old child. It is a touching story about people that like to escape to a fantasy world. Jacco’s Film is above all a very funny film showing the daily live of the ten-year-old Jacco. Remarkably pleasant and meticulously constructed. Text and image perfectly add up to each other. The use of warm colors and the addition of drawings just give that little extra. The future of Dutch cinema looks very promising.

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