Films: Bon Voyage

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Bon Voyage

Bon Voyage

Netherlands, 2010, 85 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Coming of Age, Drama, Family Issues
Program: Contemporary World Cinema
Language: Dutch English Subtitles

DIRECTOR: Margien Rogaar
Producer: Pieter Kuijpers, Sander van Meurs, Iris Otten
Editor: Elsbeth Kasteel
Screenwriter: Tijs van Marle, Margien Rogaar
Cinematographer: Sal Kroonenberg
Principal Cast: Anneke Blok, Reinout Bussemaker, Mirre Balke, Casper van Rijnberk

Director Margien Rogaar's group portrait of a middle-class family in transition is disarmingly gentle: the turbulence lies beneath the surface, as it does in most families. The Verbeeks are driving off for a three-week summer vacation in France when a phone call comes: Bob (Hans Croiset), the family patriarch, is gravely ill. So his son-in-law, Fred (Reinout Bussemaker), turns the car around and returns to the Verbeek's pleasant home in a Dutch suburb. This is bad news for Anouk Verbeek (Mirre Balke), a typically restless teenager who’d hoped to lose her virginity in France. But it pleases preteen Jochem (Casper Van Rijnberk), who can now spend more time with his best friend, Guido, at their secret tree house; for curious little Jasmijn (Scyler Eijgermans), it's an opportunity to put a barrage of innocent questions to her beloved grandfather about life, death, and afterlife. The children's distraught mother, Tine (Anneke Blok), must hold everything together even as family frictions mount.

Director Rogaar and scenarist Tijs Van Marle quietly explore the pains of growing up, summing up, and moving on. Anouk experiments with sex (the wrong boy, it turns out) at a teen dance party. Jochem is crushed when his good pal forsakes him for another kid. Old Bob, leaning on his cane, must find a way to accept his own mortality, and perhaps, immortality. When he takes little Jasmijn with him to a funeral chapel to make arrangements, the proprietor gets suitably flustered; we behold a lovely interplay between the generations.
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