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Netherlands, 2008, 85 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Drama, Family Issues
Program: Women + FilmLanguage: Dutch English Subtitles
DIRECTOR: Mijke de Jong
Producer: Hans de WolfEditor: Dorith VinkenScreenwriter: Jan Eilander, Jolein LaarmanCinematographer: Ton PetersPrincipal Cast: Ian Bok, Maryous Gabrielse, Fred Goessens, Jennifer Jago, Chico Kenzari
A 13-year-old Russian girl in Amsterdam goes innocently about her after school day – coloring, doing chores, and dancing to light pop music. She is a “little flower,” as her 17-year-old sister Katia calls her, on the verge of womenhood. You can see the beauty she’ll be, following in the footsteps of Katia and their mother. But you can also see their beauty inexorably eroding under the economic pressures of immigrant life: the mother has taken to soliciting on the streets of Amsterdam to makes ends meet, while Katia has begun a career in exotic dancing.
The younger girl’s name is Lucia, though we rarely hear it spoken. She’s not only at an impressionable age but an observer by nature. As an isolated latchkey kid with far too much time on her hands, she patiently yearns for human contact and the chance to soothe the harsh realities of her loved ones’ lives. She’s also dying to understand how to grow up. But instead of makeup tips and advice about boys, her adored sister treats her to lessons in exploitation, proudly demonstrating her newfound striptease skills. A poignant line from the Lord’s Prayer – “I shall not want” – echoes in contrast to Lucia’s own clumsy attempts at experimentation with a street preacher who has befriended her. Only a crisis gives her another chance to see what is real and good in the world.
Keeping the focus of the handheld camera on the faces of her nonprofessional cast is Dutch director Mijke de Jong, whose Stages (SDFF 30) and Bluebird (SDFF 28) have also screened in Denver.
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