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Review: Waiting Room (2017)

Director: Simone van Dusseldorp | 10 minutes | short film, drama | Actors: Rifka Lodeizen, Moos de Vries, Aaron Wan, Ghieslaine Guardiola, Margien van Doesen, Lykele Muus, Danya Khayame, Jade Olieberg,

We mainly know from her great children’s films. With ‘Diep’ (2006), ‘Kikkerdril’ (2009), ‘Briefgeheim’ (2010) and ‘Life according to Nino’ ​​(2014) and television series such as ‘Otje’ and ‘Abi’, she not only stole the hearts of the youngest viewers, but also juries from numerous film festivals in the Netherlands and abroad. In 2016, the screenwriter and director was honored with the oeuvre prize at the Cinekid Festival. Abroad, she received the prestigious prize for Best Children’s Film at the International Children and Young People’s Film Festival, in what we can safely call the cradle of children’s and youth film: Sweden. What makes her work so good is that she knows very well what goes on in the minds of children and knows how to translate that onto the silver screen like no other. However, Van Dusseldorp does not limit himself to filming for children only. For example, she made Kort! the short film “Waiting Room” (2017), in which she incorporated her own experiences in her fight against cancer.

Doubt, uncertainty, anxiety, anger. Anyone who has been told that he is seriously ill will go on a rollercoaster of emotions. Especially the time between the examinations in the hospital and the day you get the results – is it your death sentence or is there still hope? – is grueling. Sophie Fernando (Rifka Lodeizen) is going through this hell. This young single mother knows she has breast cancer, but she will only learn how serious it is later. That uncertainty kills her. Just try to stay upright. Life around her continues, but Sophie struggles. She walks around dazed, navigating between hope and fear. She tries to push away her tears, especially around her son. When she picks him up at a children’s party, she feels the glances of other parents piercing her back; is there gossip about her? The next morning in the schoolyard, several parents appear to be aware of her situation. She waves away a well-meant token of compassion from a father of one of her son’s classmates (Lykele Muus); in her mind she uses more rough shaking. A bunch of flowers that are delivered is already on her coffin in her visions for the future. And that while she does not yet know how serious her situation is; who knows she can still be treated.

Van Dusseldorp and lead actress drag their audience into the world of uncertainty, in which your thoughts run away with you. You already fill in for yourself what someone thinks. You don’t have to feel sorry, because you are strong. But your own demons run off with you. The works with hypnotic sounds and patterns; the sound the scanner makes in the hospital, the reflection of the water in the pool in which Sophie floats. The repetition pulls you even further into Sophie’s world of thought. With Lodeizen, Van Dusseldorp has managed to get a cast-iron actress who does not need words to express a complete arsenal of emotions. Moreover, the strength of this film lies in its recognisability; an apparently stable woman is torn apart by uncertainty about her future. Little is left of the confidence she must have once had. And how frustrating must it be that life around her just continues? It is amazing how Van Dusseldorp managed to put so many emotions into a film of just ten minutes, without it becoming an “overload”, although the ending is somewhat unsatisfactory. “Waiting Room” is a powerful video in which uncertainty, frustration and unrest are given a face.

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