Director: Sacha Polak | 89 minutes | drama | Actors: Wende Snijders, Sascha Alexander Gersak, Barry Atsma, Aäron Roggeman, Martijn Lakemeier
The highway blues is played in ‘Zurich’ (without the umlaut, so as not to be confused with Switzerland’s largest city), director Sacha Polak’s second feature. The modest drama describes a bleak story of loss. With beautiful shots and an extraordinary Wende Snijders, ‘Zurich’ is a great successor to ‘Hemel’.
Nina (Wende Snijders) roams inanimate along the German Autobahn. Several lifts take her past the gems between the roadside restaurants and rest areas located along the roadway of our eastern neighbors. These desolate places fit in well with Nina’s state of mind. A stream of encounters with mostly truck drivers show that something is wrong with Nina, but what? She looks confused, but why?
The tone is set from the first image. Zurich starts stubbornly with the second chapter. The lack of knowledge from the first chapter ensures a catchy narrative progression. Why does this woman roam along the German highway? The film and especially Nina are difficult to fathom. But when the pieces of the puzzle are gradually presented, and a clearer picture emerges, it is impossible not to be drawn into Nina’s story.
However, the show is stolen by Wende Snijders. Originally a singer, without serious acting experience, but she delivers an amazing performance. She watches the world pass her by with a beautiful empty look. In dialogue she intersects the confrontations with an enormous social discomfort that splashes off the screen. Her fragile nature is particularly convincing and will provide the necessary empathy anyway.
In a beautifully calm tempo, ‘Zurich’ tells the story of loss and deception. The images, the acting and the structure of the story; everything is right. With ‘Zurich’ Polak once again shows that very beautiful things can be made in film country The Netherlands.
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