TERRA INCOGNITA

All over Europe, refugees are being housed in almost aban­doned vil­lages; this is cheap and is intend­ed to coun­ter­act the rural exodus. But how to feel home in a place that others want to leave? TERRA INCOGNITA is part of anthro­pol­o­gist Shirley van der Maarel’s artis­tic research project in the remote Valle di Comino. We meet var­i­ous inhab­i­tants, chil­dren and adults, from Asia and Africa, and also the locals of Valle di Comino, who alto­geth­er, with their multi-facetted back­grounds, gen­er­ate a new life in this half-empty place. TERRA INCOGNITA is more than a doc­u­men­tary, it´s a glimpse into an absurd reality.

Direc­tor, script, cin­e­matog­ra­phy: Shirley van der Maarel
Sound design: Olivi­er Terpstra
Con­tact: hello@shirleyvandermaarel.com
Research project: www.land-unknown.eu

THEY CALL ME BABU

Mama, I miss you so much,” begins a letter Alima writes to her mother. She is one of count­less Indone­sian women work­ing as a “babu,” or nanny, for a Dutch family in the former Dutch East Indies of the 1940s. The voice of a nar­ra­tor speak­ing to her dead mother floats through this com­pelling and insight­ful piece of cinema, rem­i­nis­cent of home movies and news­reels. In the days of colo­nial rule, it was common for Dutch fam­i­lies to make Super8 or 16mm films for friends and rel­a­tives to show them life in the colony: the chil­dren, the abun­dance of trop­i­cal fruits, the exotic idio­syn­crasies. The maids usu­al­ly played only a mar­gin­al role. From this per­spec­tive of rule and almost 500 pic­ture sources, con­trast­ed with the nar­ra­tion of many maids, Sandra Beerends com­piles her teach­ing tale on topics such as self-deter­mi­na­tion, wom­en’s rights and oppres­sion and expos­es the one-sid­ed­ness of the writ­ing of his­to­ry, as it is still taught in many places today.

Sandra Beerends from the Nether­lands is a screen­writer, pro­duc­er and direc­tor of fea­ture films and doc­u­men­taries. She works for the Dutch TV sta­tion NTR and runs her own film pro­duc­tion com­pa­ny called “Beru­ang”. Her work includes the co-pro­duc­tion and script-edit­ing of KAUWBOY (2012, by Boudewi­jn Koole), and she wrote the script of the short ARIGATO (2012, R: Anielle Web­ster). THEY CALL ME BABU is her debut as a director.

Direc­tor, script: Sandra Beerends
Edit­ing: Ruben van der Hammen
Com­pos­er: Alex Simu
Voice Alima: Denise Aznam
Research: Dorette Schoote­mei­jer, Hans van den Berg
Line-Pro­duc­er: Celine Baggen Production,
dis­tri­b­u­tion: PVH Pieter van Hui­js­tee, Rudolf Kats  - rudolf@pvhfilm.nl

Tanzania Transit

A busy train full of pas­sen­gers rolls through Tan­za­nia from the capi­tol to the provinces for three long days and nights. In third class, we meet a charis­mat­ic Masai named Isaya and his grand­son William, who earns a living in the city’s show busi­ness, some­thing his grand­fa­ther does not under­stand. In second class, we meet the entre­pre­neur Rukia, who was forced to marry as a young girl and whose hus­band later left her with her young son. She has since mus­tered the courage to make a fresh start as a bar owner. In the front of the train, where the first class pas­sen­gers sit, we encounter the enig­mat­ic voice of Peter, who used to be a gang­ster but is now a priest and who talks to his fellow trav­el­ers about their wor­ries, whether they want or not.

This is Tan­za­nia in tran­sit. As the train moves along through the dusty land­scape, the film sketch­es a pic­ture not only of pover­ty, prej­u­dice, and hos­til­i­ty against the Masai, but also of social change, new begin­nings and a hope­ful eye on the future, to wher­ev­er this jour­ney is going.

Wild Flower

She cooks bunch­es of sting­ing nettle, blows her nose loudly, can breathe fire when she talks, and was ugly even as a child, Lule says. But then Lule, who is a shep­herd, braids her hair and care­ful­ly puts on her tra­di­tion­al cloth­ing for her trip into town. Lule is a proud Bur­rne­sha, a woman who takes an oath not to marry or have chil­dren. As the youngest daugh­ter of an Alban­ian family of shep­herds, she was expect­ed to marry a much older man, but cir­cum­stances caused her to decide at an early age to live as a man and take over the role of the head of the family. She says it fit her character.
WILD FLOWER is an homage to a dying way of life: not only the tra­di­tion of the sworn virgin, but also of sheep farm­ing. Both are pro­found­ly con­nect­ed in this film. When a lamb Lule has raised her­self fol­lows her around, we see a glimpse of anoth­er world.

Best doc­u­men­tary, Tirana Inter­na­tion­al Film Fes­ti­val 2016

Tanzania Transit

A busy train full of pas­sen­gers rolls through Tan­za­nia from the capi­tol to the provinces for three long days and nights. In third class, we meet a charis­mat­ic Masai named Isaya and his grand­son William, who earns a living in the city’s show busi­ness, some­thing his grand­fa­ther does not under­stand. In second class, we meet the entre­pre­neur Rukia, who was forced to marry as a young girl and whose hus­band later left her with her young son. She has since mus­tered the courage to make a fresh start as a bar owner. In the front of the train, where the first class pas­sen­gers sit, we encounter the enig­mat­ic voice of Peter, who used to be a gang­ster but is now a priest and who talks to his fellow trav­el­ers about their wor­ries, whether they want or not.

This is Tan­za­nia in tran­sit. As the train moves along through the dusty land­scape, the film sketch­es a pic­ture not only of pover­ty, prej­u­dice, and hos­til­i­ty against the Masai, but also of social change, new begin­nings and a hope­ful eye on the future, to wher­ev­er this jour­ney is going.

JALAN RAYA POS - The Great Post Road

The great Post Road, built last cen­tu­ry by the Dutch set­tlers at the expense of many human lives, covers a thou­sand kilo­me­ters on the island of Java. The camera skims along the road, serv­ing as eyes and ears through­out this jour­ney now for­bid­den to Pramoedya Ananta Toer, one of the most famous con­tem­po­rary Indone­sian writ­ers and former polit­i­cal pris­on­er now under house arrest. Toer man­aged to write an essay about the road for this film. This film is both, the por­trait of a man in a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion and a jour­nal of a trip reflect­ing the marks of coloni­sa­tion and the present-day context.

SINGSING TUMBUAN

In early 1989 the Big Men of Birap Vil­lage decid­ed to hold a »Sins­ing Tum­buan« or Mask Dance cer­e­mo­ny at the begin­ning of the dry season of the fol­low­ing year, to end the mourn­ing for three deceased vil­lage elders. The Sings­ing took place in May 1990. This video doc­u­men­tary (three parts in all) por­trays the prepa­ra­tion and per­for­mance of the dance cer­e­mo­ny, illus­trat­ing how such cer­e­monies as the Mask Dance bind the com­mu­ni­ty togeth­er in mutual coop­er­a­tion and inter­de­pen­dence, bridge gender and gen­er­a­tion gaps, and add ‘spice’ to a basi­cal­ly ardu­ous and rou­tine existence. 

This film was made at the request of the chief of the Mask dance cer­e­mo­ny. It was realised with the active par­tic­i­pa­tion of the com­mu­ni­ty. The 170 min. ver­sion is the cul­tur­al his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ment of the cer­e­mo­ny in its entire­ty. It con­tains mate­r­i­al regard­ed as ‘cul­tur­al­ly sen­si­tive’ in Melane­sian cul­tures. It is the wish of the chief of the Mask Dance cer­e­mo­ny that this ver­sion be made avail­able to people of other coun­tries who wish to acquire a true under­stand­ing of his cul­ture. (There is a short­er 50 min. TV-ver­sion which excludes cer­tain sacred and secret ele­ments for a larger audience.) 

IN HET HUIS VAN MIJN VADER

»In our islam­ic soci­ety , it’s always the woman who pays the price, why?« With these words a young Maroc­can woman sums up, the until today unbro­ken patri­achal dom­i­nance of the sexes in her home­land, as well as the sub­ject of this very per­son­al, thought­ful, pro­vok­ing and com­mit­ted inves­ti­ga­tion into the family his­to­ry of the direc­tor Fatima Jebli Ouaz­zani. In a con­ver­sa­tion with her grand­fa­ther, he declares furi­ous­ly and openly:« A deflow­ered woman is like yesterday’s cous­cous«. Even today , many Maroc­cans think like him, who mar­ried off his daugh­ter when she was 14, and assume that a woman can only enter mar­riage as a virgin. In this film the direc­tor gets to the bottom of the myth of the hymen. 

At the age of eleven, Fatima Jebli Ouaz­zani came to the Nether­lands with her par­ents. Seven years later her father repu­di­at­ed his wife and mar­ried a sev­en­teen-year old Maroc­can girl. In order to escape the same fate as her mother, Fatima left her father’s house when she was 18. Today she lives as a fil­mak­er in Hol­land, unmar­ried and with­out chil­dren. Her film doc­u­ments, apart from the con­ver­sa­tions with her grand­par­ents, a tra­di­tion­al Maroc­can wed­ding to which even eman­ci­pat­ed women, who have long lived abroad, submit themselves. 

In staged sequences , she remem­bers her father again, who used to love her uncon­di­tion­al­ly until she reached the mar­riage­able age.«