Director: Paula van der Oest | 91 minutes | thriller | Actors: Laurien Van den Broeck, Hunter Bussemaker, Andrew Howard, Johan Leysen, Jemma Redgrave, Frank Sasonof, David Bustard, Stephen Tate, Emma Drews, Valerie Scott, Aurelie Petrini, Sarah Markianidis
As the title suggests, “Moonlight” is a fairytale. An absurd fairytale about two children who grow up too quickly. They flee together and fall madly in love without saying a word. You must be very blunted if this crush leaves you cold.
Director Paula van der Oest tells a sobering story about modern society in the form of the fairy tale. Asylum seekers, child neglect and drug smuggling are the modern evils from which both children try in vain to escape.
The plot is not strong. In short, two teenagers discover themselves and each other, while being chased by hitmen. But the plot is minor. The film is atmospheric, sometimes psychedelic and always alienating. Hardly any words are spoken. It is impossible to put yourself in the shoes of the characters, as they are “false” children, as only adults can portray them. But the sad fate of Claire and her drug courier is weirdly enviable. Their relationship seems of a higher kind.
An exceptional feature in this film is the play of fifteen-year-old Laurien van den Broeck, who previously starred in “Mariken”. The Flemish is one of the few children in the Dutch film world who can act. In “Moonlight” she plays her first English-language role and wins the Young Actors Award at the International Fort Lauderdale Film Festival. Van den Broeck portrays an abstract, alienated character and thus determines the atmosphere of the entire film. Cameraman Guido van Gennep also plays an important role in this. The screenplay is by Carel Donc who already proved to be a master of magical realism with films “The Debut” and “A woman like Eve”. The combination of these three makes the film an un-Dutch masterpiece.
The reality of the subject contrasts sharply with the inauthenticity of the children and the cinematic presentation. This makes “Moonlight” realism in its most beautiful absurdist form. The film has been well received at international festivals and especially in America, but in the Netherlands “Moonlight” has hardly been successful. Sin.