SEA OF SILENCE
a Film by Stijn Coninx
a co-production by Isabella Films, Sohpimages, LICHTBLICK FILM &
in co-production with KRO, ZDF/ arte, VRT, RTBF
in collaboration with Dutch Film Fund, CoBO Fonds, Rotterdam Fund for Film and audiovisual Media, Fonds Film in Vlaanderen and Vlaams Audiovisueel Fonds, Centre du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel de la Communauté française de Belgique et des télédistributeurs Wallons, Filmstiftung NRW, Danish Film Institute, Eurimages
Distribution Germany: Movienet
World sales: Celluloid Dreams
35mm / 99 minutes / Dolby SR / Color
The story is set in 1969 in a little village in the middle of Holland and starts with the announcement of the flight of the Apollo 11 to the moon. CARO (9)’s teacher tells her this news, but she refuses to believe it. God will not allow it, because, if people can go to the moon this year, they’ll be able to go to heaven next year. At home, at the pig farm with her brothers and sisters, nobody seems to care, though her very religious father MEES (43) is probably even more worried than she is. He’s a farmer to the backbone and can’t cope with modern times. The responsibility for his big family (a sixth child is on the way) is more than he can handle. In dark times he’s an alcoholic and in more optimistic times he acts like a clown.
Caro will soon do her First Communion. She has a close relationship with God, so it’s very important everything will go well on her big day. She makes a deal with her father. He promises her not to drink until that day; in return she’ll learn to swim. Because, though she’s a straight A student, she can’t learn to swim. Mees really tries to keep his promise, but eventually, the party ends in disaster.
As a result, Caro starts to do extreme things. She’s desperate that she can’t control anything. Things just happen. Mees on the other hand seems to sink in apathy. But then a barn full of new pigs brings new hope and faith in the family. A very tragic event will threaten this new harmony, but will not succeed in wiping it out.
The story ends with the actual landing on the moon. Her family, aunts and uncles included, has gathered in the living-room to watch the historical event, but Caro is not interested. She’d rather take her new baby-brother for a walk.
Meanwhile, she has learned how to swim, God has become but a vague acquaintance and she no longer worries about all things beyond her control. She’s a careless child again, ready to start a new life.
Johanna ter Steege
Neeltje de Vree
director: Stijn Coninx
script: Jacqueline Epskamp
producer: Els Vandevorst, Ineke van Wierst
co-producer: Joachim Ortmanns, Jan Roekens, Peter Aalbaek Jensen
script producer: Martin Heisler
commissioning edition: KRO - Mignon Huisman, ZDF/arte - Meinolf Zurhorst
VRT - Frans Lefever, Arlett Zylberberg
DoP: Walter Vanden Ende
sound: Henri Morelle
edition: Ludo Troch
art design: Peter Menne
costume desin: Kirstin van Passel
make-up: Wolfgang Böge, Ann-Kathrin Guballa
music: Henny Vrienten
FESTIVALS / AWARDS
LUCAS, Kinderfilmfest Frankfurt
CIFEJ-Preis, Internationales Kinder und Jugendfilmzentrum
Don Quijote-Preis, Internationale Vereinigung der Filmclubs
Belgium nomination for the foreign oscars