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Boven is het stil (2013)

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A middle aged farmer, living with his old and bedridden father, tries to find truth in life.

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(novel), (adaptation)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Jeroen Willems ... Helmer
Henri Garcin ... Vader
... Melkrijder
... Henk
... Ada
Job Steenman ... Ronald
Xander Steenman ... Teun
Aat Ceelen ... Veehandelaar
Alexander Cerpentier ... Assistent Veehandelaar
Gerbrand Bakker ... Man met bed
Marc van Uchelen ... Man met bed
John Bijman ... Dominee (as ds. John Bijman)
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Storyline

A middle aged farmer, living with his old and bedridden father, tries to find truth in life.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

25 April 2013 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

Einai ola toso irema  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

€38,474 (Netherlands), 28 April 2013, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$362, 9 January 2015, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$362, 9 January 2015
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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Edited into The Making of 'Boven is het Stil' (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Typical of the current trend for feeling-focused, mood-piece cottage cinema
2 June 2014 | by See all my reviews

A typical example of the prevailing trend among new low budget independent art house film makers today.

What's the hallmark of such works, compared to the art house movie of yesterday ? What you might call an extreme kind of minimalism that comes perhaps because of the empowering nature of new technology. Striped away are all the once essential components of a good film. It's a purist aesthetic but what does it leave us ?

We're left with work which is very firmly located in what historically we recognise as 'realism', hyper accentuated by an unnatural stripping away of the spoken word as anything but an indicator of underlying feeling. Sets and props are 'realist' and functional but encounters are strictly subservient to the re-ordered sets of directorial priorities. Typically nature features as an element is such films and it is found as such here.

The problem with this currently prevailing approach to making cinema is that is is somewhat repetitive in that it can be seen in many films being released today. It's as though the obsession to create the conditions that capture feeling entropy creative powers in each director in exactly the same way. The film maker becomes trapped by the schema which dictates the whole form of the work, added to which,in a gesture of self intensification, any attempt, if wanted, to veer away from the strategy is simply disallowed by the form itself.

The result is, well to be frank boring. Hasn't anyone told this new generation of film maker artists who are self confessedly preoccupied with the nature of feeling that the problem with feeling is that it doesn't go anywhere, lead to anything and is essentially nihilistic and inward bound. It's also notoriously difficult to convey or control in film, often leading to long empty cinematic voids whose best asset is the slowing down of pace. The idea that there is some kind of key to unlocking the cinematic propensity to convey the strata of human feeling is akin to the search for philosopher's stone. Does someone need to tell this generation to grow up and face reality ?

Talking of reality, the cliché of reality achieved through this technique needs to be scrutinised and questioned. I would propose that the realism shown here is in fact highly distorted by the entropic effect of the filmic technique which is so bent on prioritising feeling over plot or narrative.

In reality, a farm house can be a hive of activity and the stripped down conversation required for such films as these is highly unnatural and stylistic. The emerging untold story is the plight of the enigma of a gay farmer who is somewhat incidentally tossed into the mix yet is actually a radical and little explored subject. But nothing is given away, largely to maintain the conceit of feeling manifested over narrative. This represents a missed opportunity. The story is not being told. The hinted at relationship between the farmer and the milk collector only highlights that sense of something strategically avoided, if not entirely ignored. The addition of a gay responsive young farmhand becomes almost ludicrous, something closer to an isolated gay farmer's wet dream than anything real and yet the proliferating gay theme is integrated without any realistic sense of consideration or interrogation. Every gay male would comprehend that in reality if three gay farm workers were to converge in such a manner it should be something incredible and very unusual or unexpected. Perhaps a lot would even be discussed. The presence of this gay theme exposes the lack of realism at play here because something very natural is missing. I felt that the director used gay people for her own end whilst ignoring a story that most probably needs to be told.

In the end nothing is clear. The problem with these feeling films is that they leave us with no clarity, with nothing but elemental sensation. A bird, a smell, a bleat, a rustle. A hinted at theme in a throw away line. A lot of guess work. Rather than hover in this unsatisfying threshold, the poetically minded should leap fully into the 'other side' and meanwhile allow stories to reveal and tell us what needs to be told.

The fact that this methodology is currently being repeated over and over again by today's film makers adds nothing to the cause. In fact it conveys a troubling view of a generation so traumatised by the staggering quantities of information and knowledge now available because of new technology that they've backed themselves into a corner from which they must emerge and for which only the totally poetic can cater. Such films as these in the end are neither one nor the other. Meanwhile one asks with concern, which film makers have really got a handle on reality ?


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