Reviewed by: Max Blinkhorn

Small is Beautiful. Less is More. Little Budget, Big Film. All these apply to Guernsey, a Dutch post-modern rom-com.... without the com. Well, I have a duty as a reviewer to give reference points and those seems the most apposite that people would understand.

An international aid worker is looking at an irrigation scheme in the Middle East. She travels and lives the half-family life of a modern European professional. She drives, flies, travels in the modern jetbus style and what perhaps was once an interesting life has become mundane. Then she finds a body - not going to spoil that by telling you more but it's all very human.

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This event triggers a personal crisis. Then the other dominos of her life start to fall and before you know it, she's up to her neck in crises. This is a highly cinematic film, light on dialogue, heavy on realism with performances that in another context would win a handful of Oscars each. I kid you not. The husband and wife couple, Maria Kraakman and Fedja van HuĂȘt are so, so real. The film speaks through the steady cuts that show us the scope of the main character's life with a superbly measured flow. There is sex in this film, and oh, it's lovely. Very sweet - proper lovemaking. These characters and their actors have the grown up togetherness that is usually missing from most English speaking productions on T.V. and in film (except that bit in Personal Services where Julie Walters sees two holidaymakers making love properly, for the first time). Indeed there are levels of subtlety in the portrayal of the principle couples that I have never seen before and that equate to scenes in Lady Chatterly's Lover.

We are allowed to see other family intimacies - bath time with unself-conscious parents and children, a naked sleepless woman who smokes quietly in the window. It's so real and genuine - prurience is futile - beauty is in the eye of Richard van Oosterhout's camera. Writer and Director Nanouk Leopold has created a wonderful film for grown-ups and if you want to be such, watch this film and learn.

Reviewed on: 07 Sep 2006
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An aid worker's life changes dramatically after she discovers a body.

Director: Nanouk Leopold

Writer: Nanouk Leopold

Starring: Maria Kraakman, Fedja van HuĂȘt, Johanna ter Steege, Frank Vercruyssen

Year: 2005

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: The Netherlands


EIFF 2006

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