Some people find her removed from reality. Her older sister Katia even thinks she's stupid. But this is only a first impression, perhaps the result of her subconscious desire to remain a ...
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STAGES is a film about Roos and Martin, who are divorced but haven't become detached yet. When their 17-year old son Isaac withdraws ever deeper into silent isolation, they try to find a ... See full summary »
Mijke de Jong
Elsie de Brauw,
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After years of fruitful cooperation, Dutch/Flemish actor-group 'Wunderbaum' is in crisis. Its members feel that with acting they contribute insufficiently to the changes of society desired by them, mainly aimed at the poor among us.
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Dutch filmmakers gathered to make this compilation movie, consisting of 17 segments, as a reaction to the status quo in The Netherlands after the assassination of filmmaker Theo van Gogh on November 2, 2004.
Some people find her removed from reality. Her older sister Katia even thinks she's stupid. But this is only a first impression, perhaps the result of her subconscious desire to remain a child. Or perhaps, her strange behavior is a defense against the uninspiring life she leads, a cruel existence shared with her sister and mother. Having emigrated from Russia some years previously, her mother tries to build up a life in Amsterdam and is drawn into the world of prostitution. Slowly, oldest daughter Katia follows her mother into the same obscure world. Our heroine, Katia's Sister, adores her older beautiful sister Katia, but she is getting more and more lonely, having nobody to share her feelings with. Although her surroundings are harsh, she does not judge. She continues to see the world in an unconditional and even loving manner. Despite her non-judgmental attitude, she becomes increasingly isolated, creating her own protective universe in which she sacrifices a lot, even her own name... Written by
I came into this movie knowing a film that centered around a young girl surrounded by the vicious world of poverty. Her mother is a prostitute, and her older sister enrolls at a strip club, leaving the girl to withdraw into her own emotions.
However, the film was very different from what I imagined it would be. Much footage is used simply with her as she walks through the city, alone and ghost-like. The camera is almost always focused on her. Either it's set over her shoulder, and we feel like we're walking along with her, or it's focused on her face, showing traces of suppressed emotions that she is going through. For a lot of the time, she's just blank, weary from not having time for herself or even her own name. This is a kind of filming I'm not used to seeing, but while it takes some getting used to, it's interesting.
The relationships with her mother and sister are full of depth, and they influence her character in the film. She is forced to take care of both her mother and sister, thereby losing a bit of herself in the process. She does not even use her own name, merely calling herself, the sister of Katia. She must also deal with her grandmother, who cannot speak Dutch and is feeling the effects of senility. Meanwhile, she is the middle person in a war between her mother and her sister. The two constantly lock horns, especially on the fact that Katia has become employed as a stripper. Her mother urges her not to enter the world that she herself is trapped in, but Katia refuses.
One character that she attaches herself to outside of her family is John Turner, a Christian worker who talks to her about Jesus and the teachings of the Bible. She starts to read about the Ten Commandments, and other pieces of the Bible, and continues the meetings with Turner as he talks to other people about Christianity.
While she is doing this, Katia is spiralling further down the road that many in poverty end up taking. She becomes infatuated with an Italian boy who uses her only for sex, and she develops a drug addiction. This adds more to the burden that the protagonist must deal with.
This film is a well done piece of work, but it was awkward for me at times to sit through some of the scenes. Some of her scenes are painful to watch for you sense the vulnerability of her surroundings and her lack of a role model. But I recommend it, for it is a unique style that big Hollywood movies never show you.
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