Review: For a few more marbles (2006)


Director: Jelmar Hufen | 11 minutes | family, short film | Actors: Tom Schild, Pauline Winckel, Ruben van den Besselaar, Aidan Vernee, Merijn van Heiningen, Rob Prenger, Edo Brunner, Jack Wouterse, Bracha van Doesburgh, Halina Reijn, Victor Löw

With a big nod to spaghetti westerns such as those from Sergio Leone’s “Dollar” trilogy, Dutch filmmaker Jelmar Hufen has made a very nice short film. Music and cinematography, like the many close ups of the protagonists, convey exactly that atmosphere from the films with which Clint Eastwood made history. In “For a few more marbles”, however, it is not tough cowboys in the sweltering West, but four children in an average Dutch city (Utrecht) who play the leading role. The (particularly beautiful) opening animation is followed by one of the most beautiful scenes, although the film is a succession of beautifully photographed images. The victory of the game of marbles is fantastic, portrayed with a cleverly built up tension. However, the pleasant feeling does not last long, but soon turns into horror when the four sympathetic children are chased away from their playground by a few drunken rulers. These two characters are perfectly terrifying and disgusting portrayed by Edo Brunner and Rob Prenger.

It is not easy for the kids, because when they each ask for help from their respective parents, they do not receive the desired attention. One mother is too busy and tired from her long day of work, one father only hears herself talking, another couple just argues, and yet another parent only shows her presence through a written note to her son. Is it so bad with today’s parents? Fortunately, the children appear to have a solution up their sleeve: they call in the help of a mysterious, but also “dangerous” boy. This boy drinks coffee (black!), And appears not to be averse to vandalism. The children see no other option than to put all their marbles together in order to persuade the boy.

In just ten minutes, the viewer is presented with an exciting and funny story, in which the final scene even has something magical. It is clear that Hufen, who was not only directing but also responsible for the story, production and editing, has made no steps in dividing his attention. Everything looks neat: decor, cinematography, music… In addition, the children act convincingly, not entirely unimportant and also an excellent merit of Hufen, who guided the young talents very well. A special mention for the music is certainly in order. Maarten Spruijt has ensured that the bold music, which is just touching the edge, becomes nowhere, but only takes the film to a higher level. “For a few more marbles” left “Minoes” in 2008 as the most selected Dutch film ever, the film was selected for no fewer than 125 film festivals in 46 countries. The film has also won a number of international awards. But even without these milestones, Jelmar Hufen and everyone who contributed to the film can be proud of the result.

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