Review: Wildflowers (2015)


Directed by: Alieke van Saarloos | 48 minutes | drama, romance | Actors: Dette Glashouwer, Suzan Boogaerdt, Marcel Faber, Jochum van der Woude, Ali Zijlstra

“That’s where I was born, that’s where I got married, and that’s where, four kilometers away, I went to live in my parents-in-law’s farm,” protagonist Juke points out three places on the horizon for her newly acquired friend Joan, to which he responds. with a: “Well, a whole world trip.” Juke has lived in Friesland all her life and has found her happiness in family life with her husband Tjeerd and her three, almost grown, children. “I’m only half a farmer,” she says when she meets Joan, who brings her home because Juke’s (her father’s) motor breaks down. “And the other half?” Joan asks. Juke is silent.

‘Wildflowers’ by filmmaker Alieke van Saarloos is about the personal search for happiness, freedom and adventure of Juke, a Frisian woman, who seems happy with the evenings of line dancing with her husband, the contacts with villagers and the prospect of dealing with their 25- wedding anniversary to receive the standard ‘weekend Ameland’ as a present from acquaintances who went around with the cap. The relationship with her two of her three children seems a bit tense, but she has a clear connection with the youngest son. He plays in a band, wears shirts from old metal bands and is determined to study in America. For a moment, it seems as if Juke is content with her own unfulfilled desires for freedom and broadening her horizons being fulfilled by her son, but the arrival of freebooter Joan in her life puts things on edge. Joan is in transit. With a life too full, too many obligations, it takes time to do nothing and not make plans for her. Juke revives in her presence, it is as if Joan awakens something in her that was asleep a long time ago, but when it comes to an inevitable kiss, she flees into Tjeerd’s arms. Still, it keeps on itching and when Joan’s newly purchased sailing boat is ready with the help of the handy Juke, the two friends leave for a sailing trip of a few days.

The Frisian, Dutch subtitled “Wildflowers” is a quietly rippling, unadorned film, in which you are slowly drawn into the emotional life of a woman who is given a second chance. Not all storylines are revealed (the relationship between mother and daughter), but the most important ones, those between Juke and Tjeerd and Juke and Joan, are convincing, with the first in particular being made clear in subtle fragments, with telling looks and body language. . Thanks to the beautiful cinematography and the respectful, almost poetic depiction of Frisian peasant life, Van Saarloos knows how to put his own stamp on the somewhat clichéd story of screenwriter Anne Hofhuis, so that “Wildflowers” continues to intrigue despite the unsurprising course.

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