Review: The Little Sister (2006)

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The Little Sister (2006)

Directed by: Marco van Geffen | 10 minutes | short film | Actors: Pien Belle, Max van Burg, Liesbeth Groenwold, Dominique Riebel

What immediately stands out is the original perspective; everything is filmed from Floortje’s perspective, ie from the floor, from the cupboard or from under the bed or table. This is a smart way to literally let you see and feel in the girl’s life. Another way is to use the focus. Everyone except Floortje is filmed out of focus, and when they are brought into sharp focus, we only see the legs or feet. In this way we almost end up in the mind of the girl, who tries to close herself off from the outside world, so that the terrible events pass by in bursts, and they never become fully visible.

The film shows how a little girl goes through these kinds of events and that hiding in the closet isn’t always enough to cut yourself off from quarreling parents and a perpetually crying sister.

Floortje is beautifully portrayed by the young actress Pien Belle, who looks penetratingly into the camera, quietly plays with her barbie and hides in the closet if she does not want to be found. She doesn’t show much emotion, but we do see a traumatized and scared girl here, who would prefer to make herself invisible.

The film is certainly not pleasant. There is no moment of rest or pleasure, just (muffled) screaming or crying, parents ignoring the girl and nothing more. There is also no music to ease the suffering somewhat. In this way, the viewer is hard pressed to the facts: a girl is shamefully neglected after the birth of her new sister, and is also (partially) witness to the mistreatment of the new baby. No beautiful music can cope with this, the makers have thought.

Instead of literally portraying the events, everything passes as a kind of intoxication. The sad ending is also shown in this way, making it slowly but painfully clear what is happening to Floortje. The whole thing is impressive, but hard. Well made, but not nice to look at.

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