Review: Where is Sinterklaas’ horse? (2007)


Director: Mischa Kamp | 83 minutes | family | Actors: Ebbie Tam, Jan Decleir, Betty Schuurman, Aaron Wan, Mamoun Elyounoussi, Robbert Blokland, Nils Verkooijen

An old acquaintance. The loyal four-legged friend of Sinterklaas: the horse Amerigo. The horse plays a big part in Winky Wong’s life. From the beginning, you sympathize with Winky’s enthusiasm about the Goedheiligman’s horse, which she is allowed to take care of. She tells the children in her class about it and writes letters to Sinterklaas to tell him how Amerigo is doing. The uncomplicated and free relationship between the children in the classroom is to be enjoyed. Nothing is pushed under chairs or couches; if they think something is stupid, they say it, but if something is fantastic, there is genuine loud cheer. Especially the bond that Winky builds up with Bram often creates comical situations. This comes to the fore, among other things, when Bram tells Winky that he must take the dog to build up his social contacts. He actually thinks the dog is stupid and calls it Smelly Drollendraaier, an Indian name. Because of Bram’s passion for Indians, Winky is always assigned a new Indian name, which is related to a recent situation that Winky has found himself in. For example, from a Nice Amazon she becomes a Big Star.

The contrast between the Dutch landscape and the Chinese atmospheres where Winky commutes between back and forth is beautifully depicted. She finds herself in the Dutch landscape when she takes care of the horse on the farm of Aunt Cor and Uncle Siem. When she is at home, however, she has to work in her parents’ Chinese Indian restaurant, they eat with chopsticks and her mother hardly speaks Dutch. The cliché image of the Chinese people is subtly emphasized when in the background in the restaurant you can hear: “Sambal with us?” Winky’s mother’s poor Dutch also contributes to the sad role she plays. She seems to have difficulty with Dutch society, in which her daughter finds herself very well. Because of these obstacles, the good relationship that Winky appears to have with her mother sometimes seems strange. It is nice to see that Winky’s mother finally gives in by giving Winky riding lessons for her birthday, so that she can gallop through the Dutch polders. Winky’s father pretends to be a down-to-earth man who addresses Winky in a fairly distant way. This makes the bond with her father seem somewhat unnatural. The fact that the relationship with her parents is sometimes somewhat problematic is also typified by the moment when it is Winky’s birthday and the living room turns out to be anything but decorated. And a touch of pity does not disappear when Winky’s sister is born and her parents care even less about Winky. Winky, however, has a very mature approach to the situation at home and mainly focuses on finding Amerigo back.

The drama feeling evoked when Sinterklaas’ horse has run away is just real. It is good to imagine in the perception of a child how bad it is if you have lost Sinterklaas’ horse: then Sinterklaas cannot come! The search for the horse is not only sad, but also creates quite a bit of tension. But as befits a children’s film, everyone can be satisfied with the outcome of this fun adventure.

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