Review: Cocoon (2021)

Cocoon (2021)

Directed by: Lisette Vlassak | 21 minutes | drama | Actors: Noël van Kruysdijk, Bart Slegers, Kris Hutten, Darryl Amankwah, Reinier Saenen, Pauline Bas, Coen Bril, Henry van Loon, Friedl de Nyn

‘Cocon’ is one of the graduation films from the Lichting 2021 of the Dutch Film Academy, which can be seen during the Keep an Eye Film Academy Festival for a short period in October 2021 in Eye Filmmuseum and online on Picl. Based on an idea by the director Lisette Vlassak, ‘Cocon’ is about the budding sexuality of a fourteen-year-old boy, Sonny. What makes ‘Cocon’ so special are the parallels that the young protagonist himself draws with the fauna – Sonny is extremely interested in nature – and the way in which this is portrayed on the silver screen.

After his first wet dream, Sonny is shocked to death. Just as he realizes what may have happened, his older sister Kim stands in the doorway and inquires if he has “any laundry left.” Sonny just barely has the presence of mind to answer that question in the negative, but does take his stained pajama bottoms to school to show them to his friend Ferdi. He confirms Sonny’s suspicions: he is sexually mature.

Now that Sonny knows this, his brain is working overtime. Although biology is his favorite subject, he has never been so concerned with human nature. He does know everything about the animal kingdom. He now applies that knowledge to his situation. Classmate Coco is suddenly very interesting, but how does he get her to see him?

The events in ‘Cocon’ seem to be slightly out of touch with reality. The overly tough, incomprehensible father; the attractive, yet caring sister and the bully Nigel, are magnified characters in a somewhat surreal world. ‘Cocoon’ is set in a bygone era; the cars in Sonny’s father’s garage certainly don’t have a catalytic converter yet, there are no digital blackboards and cell phones are nowhere to be seen.

‘Cocon’ is an original and successful short, which is somewhat reminiscent of the work of Wes Anderson. The music of Max Abel should not remain unnamed, for this the film won the Keep an Eye Filmscore Award 2021. Cinematographer Evert Bazuin also received the Geoff Boyle NSC Student Award Best Fiction Cinematography 2021.

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