The woman is only a mysterious and inscrutable being, argued director Martijn Maria Smits at the start of the press presentation of “For Emilia”. That premise is worked out solidly in the film. The spectator follows the comings and goings of Lies (Loes Schnepper). As a result, that everyday begins with a typically Dutch scene in which the 51-year-old woman considers herself brushing her teeth in the mirror. In the following scene she can be seen running in a forest. Eventually she arrives at a secondary school, where she earns a living as a German teacher.
The single Lies is an apparently ordinary woman. But, of course, everyday life enjoys little mystery. Little by little, therefore, “For Emilia” reveals that the woman has her peculiarities after all. She has a few men in her life, of whom it is not immediately clear what their relationship to her is. She develops voyeuristic traits towards a new student in her class. And then there is Emilia, who is occasionally whispered about.
In this way, not only the story and the accompanying drama gradually take shape, the character of Lies also gets deeper in a subtle way. The structure really makes you curious about this woman. It also helps that the camera is always pointed at her. The spectator dives into her head. Although the acting is not equally convincing – typically Dutch -, Schnepper portrays a wonderfully rigid Lies.
It has now been cited twice that “For Emilia” is in a sense a characteristically Dutch film. There is also the danger that originality may suffer. As a character sketch, the film ultimately tells a fairly universal story, which is a different story in terms of design. The imagery is so recognizable that its solidity shines off. It is therefore never quite exciting. That could have been bolder.
“For Emilia” was produced as part of the One Night Stand program. That program aims to give young directors and screenwriters the opportunity to make a film. Although “For Emilia” has its flaws, the film proves the success of the series.