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||IMDB Rating: 6.4/10 from AL votes
||Release: 25 April 2013 (Netherlands) /
||Director: Gerbrand Bakker,
||Stars: Aat Ceelen, Alexander Cerpentier, Gerbrand Bakker, Henri Garcin, Jeroen Willems, Job Steenman, John Bijman, Lies Visschedijk, Marc van Uchelen, Martijn Lakemeier, Wim Opbrouck, Xander Steenman
||Synopsis: A middle aged farmer, living with his old and bedridden father, tries to find truth in life.
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I saw this film at the Berlinale 2013 film festival, as part of the
Panaroma Special section. It was the world premiere, in a large venue
with over 1,500 booked seats. Director Nanouk Leopold appeared on stage
before the screening, and was offered the opportunity for an
introductory address. She refrained from talking about the film itself.
Instead she told that her last film was seen by 3,000 people in total,
and now she was already halfway. A significant part of the crew was
present and called on stage after the screening. There was only one
notable exception: Jeroen Willems, who played the main character, but
he died last December. There was no Q&A (but the festival website
contains a link to an enlightening 47 minutes video of the press
I would not be surprised when many viewers nowadays will say that not
much is happening in this film. There are a few notable events, spread
evenly over the running time, mixed with long intervals of boring
farming routine and domestic chores. Father and son don't talk much.
There are other dialogs, also limited to the bare essentials, with
children from the neighborhood, the cattle merchant, the milk truck
driver, and on some sparse social events. A woman living nearby brings
an occasional cake, for all of us clearly with hidden intentions, but
nothing comes out of it. Contrary to what would be a normal thing to do
in a small community, people that come by are not asked to come inside
for some coffee.
All of this tells us something, albeit not very outspoken. Notable
quote from the father: "Why do you hate me so much?" From time to time
we get some hints what could be the cause of their difficult
relationship. It may have something to do with beatings when a child.
This came up when Helmer talked about the hands of the farm help, being
very different from the hands of his father that were only used for
beating. On another occasion came about that Helmer's brother Geert
died young (drowned), and that Helmer assumed that the father felt
being stuck with the wrong son (father seemed not to remember this, but
the suggestion is very clear). In small bites we get to build the
underlying picture, if only when we allow ourselves to pick up the
pieces lying around.
The slow pace of the whole film nicely blends in with farm life as it
is in reality, at least as it is for a dying breed of small scale
farmers. I recognize this way of life from my own youth. The farm where
I grew up, was sold by my father just before the time came to scale up
the business, which was something he did not want to at his age.
Farming at that time had its peak moments of course, like the harvest,
but most of the year was a tedious daily routine. For me it was nice
and quiet way to pass the day, something to plunge in when my parents
were on a well deserved holiday. Such a small period of a few weeks was
very well bearable to experience a life seemingly far away from the
city. Life on a farm as portrayed in this film does remind me of those
days, very well done I must say, luckily avoiding the rosy view mostly
associated with country life.
The last conversation between father and son before his death seems to
have more contents than the total of all earlier conversations they
ever had, at least that is the impression left to us. This is the
moment that much of what happened earlier comes together. It underlines
in hindsight several things that went past us, allowing us afterwards
to connect the dots. Is it a humane thing to do to us, viewers, to
postpone this until the final scene? It is, if you allow this film a
fair chance to tell the story the way it is told here.
Anyway, I gave the maximum score for the audience award when leaving
the theater. Is it due to the remembrance of the quiet life on a farm
when I was young, which was certainly triggered while seeing this
movie? But even when I leave that out, we still have a compelling view
on someone changing to a different person, freeing himself from his
past and what others expect from him.
Tags for Boven is het stil Full Movie
, Alexander Cerpentier
, Gerbrand Bakker
, Henri Garcin
, Jeroen Willems
, Job Steenman
, John Bijman
, Lies Visschedijk
, Marc van Uchelen
, Martijn Lakemeier
, Wim Opbrouck
, Xander Steenman
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