Director: Stijn Coninx | 105 minutes | drama, history | Actors: Huub Stapel, Johanna ter Steege, Neeltje de Vree, Anneke Blok, Dirk Roofthooft, Wim Opbrouck, Betty Schuurman, Nyk Runia, Yannic Pieters, Julia van Lisenburg, Isabel Leur, Kees Hulst
We find similarities in almost every Dutch feature film. It’s an atmosphere, maybe the language. The lack of CGI, or the “drama” that Dutch filmmakers have their own view on. Anyway, most Dutch films have that typical ‘Dutch feature film feeling’ …
That is also in “Beyond the Moon” … Maybe this film is the “prototype” for that matter! The story is a gripping grief of a farming family consisting of Mum, Dad and five children with a sixth on the way. While the parents argue among themselves about Daddy’s drinking, which is translated to the children as ‘Daddy is in France’, nine-year-old Caro (Neeltje de Vree) tries to unravel the Catholic faith just before her First Communion by wondering whether to go to the moon travel is actually God’s will. In this way, different sub-issues are all mixed up and will eventually be interwoven into a conclusion that has everything to do with the concept of “family”.
Very strong acting game makes us believe in the events of this film. But we also expect nothing less from our own Huub Stapel (Mees Werner) who has often proven to Dutch film audiences to be a powerful but above all varied actor. This time he steps into the shoes of a farmer-with-a-drink problem and does it so credibly that we forget that it is actually Huub! Johanna ter Steege also completes her character (Ita Werner) with a good dose of “Dutch realism”, which makes us doubt whether Johanna is not secretly playing herself. The young debutante Neeltje de Vree with her role as Caro plays her character so convincingly that we have to take this film seriously!
The magical play between all the actors is of such a high quality that it is almost a shame that the story leaves something to be desired. In itself the story is well put together… but it is so typically Dutch… that it is suspected that it will attract a smaller audience than this film deserves. It is certainly not a cheerful film and moments of laughter are accounted for by Annet Malherbe (an aunt of Caro), but yes, that is especially true for fans of her since her fantastic performance in the television series “Mus”.
What is striking are the careless errors in the production. For example, in a particular scene we see those blue modern limestone freight wagons at the station (Utrecht) that cannot possibly be from the year 1969 (in which the story takes place) … We also see a color television, cars and other small objects pass by which for our ‘feeling’ do not correspond with the image of the film. That is unfortunate and sloppy because it was not necessary!
Yet you notice that this film has been worked on with great care. This raises the hope of seeing the entire cast of the film again soon, with or without each other, in a different production … But that Neeltje de Vree is being specially watched … Because we are very curious what kind of characters this talented girl can deliver even more!