Review: Back (2012)


Back (2012)

Directed by: Jenneke Boeijink | 50 minutes | drama | Actors: Pierre Bokma, John Buijsman, Reinout Bussemaker, Astrid van Eck, Roeland Fernhout, Gonny Gaakeer, Han Kerkhoffs, Marja Kok, Ricky Koole, Judith Noyons, Ada Nwosu, Romy van der Vaart, Ward Weemhoff

One Night Stand is a drama series of eight short films by new filmmakers. In the seventh edition, eight films of approximately fifty minutes have been included. ‘Back’ by Jenneke Boeijink is the fourth in the series and tells the story of war photographer Vincent (Roeland Fernhout), who struggles with the gap between the reality of his work in war zones and that of his ‘safe’ life in the Netherlands. His insomnia and displacement make him cynical and bitter and he searches for a way out.

In 2010, Boeijink also delivered a One Night Stand: ‘Process’, about a widow who enters into an educational partnership with her husband’s murderer. About this, the director said that she likes to put ordinary people in unusual situations, to see what survival strategies they develop. In ‘Back’ it is less about the unusual situation, but all the more about the survival strategies. While Vincent struggles with difficulties back in the Netherlands, this also applies to his girlfriend Anna (Ricky Koole), herself a former foreign correspondent.

Anna appears disillusioned. She no longer believes that honest journalism about inhumane situations can wake up readers. Integrity is no longer the highest good for her. Not even in her relationship. Gradually Vincent finds out that something is going on between Anna and his impresario Marco (Reinout Bussemaker). A storyline that doesn’t really come out well and partly because of that it feels rather redundant. Even if it does provide some interesting moments. But it hardly matters to Vincent’s inner struggle.

A struggle, by the way, which Roeland Fernhout manages to portray beautifully. Not with grandiose gestures, but especially with an intense, tired look and a timid tension in the body. Just like in ‘Process’, Boeijink has chosen to get close to her characters with the camera and especially to let the body language speak. That also leaves room for an excellent soundtrack. In terms of image and sound and certainly also in terms of acting, the short film has a lot to offer.

The elaboration of the story is somewhat paradoxical. Depending on how you approach it, the 50 minutes turn out to be either too short or too long. On the one hand, the film just doesn’t quite come into its own due to a lack of detail, on the other hand, the essence is somewhat snowed under by side tracks that are too distracting. With ‘Back’ Boeijink definitely confirms her abilities as a director, but a slightly more witty scenario would have been desirable. Nevertheless, a short film that will make you hold your breath every now and then!

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