Sleeping Rough

Sleeping Rough

Tussenland is another example of the unexpected leaps that we witness once in a while in Dutch cinema. In her first feature film, Eugenie Jansen, known as a documentary director, successfully overcomes the great challenge of handling a very difficult subject with a very simple narrative. Going back to Holland’s colonialist past despite the country’s present image as a mosaic of ethnicities, the film explores the friendship between an illegal immigrant and a veteran of Holland’s colonialist war in Indonesia. This seemingly impossible friendship comes to life as the two find themselves in circumstantial solidarity. Eighty year old Jacob is a difficult man who starts to show sympathy to Majok because of a common enemy, a huge neighboring family with whom Jacob seems to have only one type of interaction: to quarrel endlessly. Slowly, Jacob starts to realize that Majok is filling a huge gap in his life. Majok, who longs for the days he used to tend cows with his grandfather and spends a lot of time observing Holland’s well-fed cows responds positively to the bizarre sympathy shown to him. Eugenie Jansen does a fine job in bringing her documentary filmmaker background to her character analyses, whose parallel narratives add up to the film’s fiction. The help of social workers seems to be the only warmth in the lonely and disease-laden final days of Jacob and his veteran friends who have difficulty in understanding the racism imposed upon them in the past when they see the cosmopolitanist structure of their society. On Majok’s side we see that the services provided by the Dutch Government is not enough and we witness the psychological pain suffered by the immigrants due to the culture and climate shock they experience. Owing its power to its pure realism and its simple and flawless cinematography, the films succeeds in being both critical and sensitive. These qualities rightly won “Tussenland” one of the three Tiger Prizes at the 2002 Rotterdam Film Festival. Alin

The Netherlands

Eugenie Jansen

Helena van der Meulen

Adri Schrover

Danniel Danniel
Jessica de Koning

Waterland Film & TV De Kempenaerstaat 11 A 1051 CJ Amsterdam The Netherlands

Jan Munter
John Kon Kelei
Miep Bos
Willem Smit

Marcel Wierckx

Tiger Award Rotterdam

8th Festival on Wheels