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'Anesthesia' review: Netherlands' Oscar submissions take a sensitive spin on familiar theatrical territory

Special edge of grief, perennial dramatic fertile soil, in Narcosis a direct treatment, but with a poetic twist. Writer and author Martijn de Jong traces the impact of a deep-sea diver’s death on his wife and children, injecting a sense of mystery into the standard template of family loss. Ocean exploration and the psychic abilities of the explorer’s widow are the story’s most unusual angles, and De Jong’s restraint toward them is one of the film’s most effective qualities. Everyday life takes on a low-key eerieness that matches the unspeakable pain of losing a loved one.

De Jong’s debut feature, written by him and his spouse, screenwriter Laura van Dijk, recently premiered at the home of the Dutch Film Festival and started the festival tour , dates in front of Thessaloniki and Cairo. While it may be too quiet to stand out in the Academy Awards’ International Feature Film Competition, its sharp attitude, eloquent visuals and superb cast mark It’s the arrival of a talented filmmaker.


Bottom line

Basic story, evocative details.

Cast: Thekla Reuten, Fedja van Huêt, Sepp Ritsema, Lola van Zoggel, Vincent van der Valk
Director: Martijn de Jong

Screenwriters: Laura Van Dyke, Martin de Jong
1 hour52 minute

Thekla Reuten as Merel, glimpsed in the opening sequence of his marriage to the more natural John (Fedja van Huêt). She wraps up his upcoming trip to South Africa, where he will explore one of the deepest underwater caves in the world. He hasn’t packed up yet, much to her consternation, but he’s made time to clear an abandoned phone booth and install it on their property to the delight of their children Boris (Sepp Ritsema) and Ronja (Lola van Zoggel) , with this strange relic.

A year later, Merrell defaults on her mortgage and the hatchback of her old car still pops open every time she starts the engine – which John has promised to fix when he travels when coming back. But he never returned from the freshwater depths of Boesmansgat. His body has not been found and an investigation by the insurance company is ongoing. Merrell and the children are relieved by a devastating emptiness in their home, but each of them is left alone in pain and confusion, falling into a sort of coma that, as the movie’s title suggests, also suggests intoxicating The effect of nitrogen anesthesia in deep-sea diving.

Everyone, including her son, expects Merrell to use her psychic talents to communicate with John based on the assumed pattern and time frame of mourning as a predictable misconception . The truth is, she had pushed that part of herself away and wasn’t ready to face John’s death head-on. The room where she used to hold meetings with clients eager to connect with their dear deceased clients has closed and she is now working on the front desk of a tanning salon. When she finally returned to her practice, her grief and fear permeated the reading.

In a different way, Merrell’s children also held back. About 10 Boris was sullen, did not communicate with his mother, and went alone to the lake near their home to continue practicing underwater swimming John has been teaching him. DP Martijn van Broekhuizen captures his practice regimen with crystalline symmetry. Concentric circles rippling across the calm lake as Boris descends into the water with larger and larger stones, his tiny body is filled with heartbreaking determination to chase a sporting goal but truly pursue his father.

Meanwhile, his sister talks about John in the present tense to a new friend who doesn’t know what happened over the past year. Ronja also has daily conversations with her father at the phone booth he planted in the trees, his last whimsical act before his ill-fated expedition. More than just expressions of denial and longing, these one-sided chats reveal a child’s attempt to make sense of a changing world. There’s a bit of bravery in her performance, especially when you hear John’s voice still on the answering machine at home and see how quickly Merrell deletes messages from friends.

One of them is Sjoerd (Vincent van der Valk), John’s diving buddy, whose generosity, guilt but sincerity, suffocates Merrell. She pushes him away with unapologetically bluntness, but more infuriating her self-control than the sympathetic expression of the standard issue she presents to the insurance adjuster.

Merrell’s deal with the real estate agent followed a predictable back-and-forth, and there was a familiar feeling of dismissing the family’s big, quirky old house as their disqualification Symbols of (like Mathieu Amalric’s theme Hold Me ). But through flashbacks revealing how Merrell and John fell in love with the abandoned mansion while they were in love with each other, and how they brought it back to life, the script convincingly brings the house (in Biltow, Holland) to life. Fen Village) into a building

The low-key chemistry between Reuten and van Huêt (a former on-screen partner) gives Merel’s memory a natural force, while his relative In his brief screen time, van Huêt makes John’s extraordinary drive as an explorer — and a certain calm about death — quietly convincing. Aside from the poignant, almost abstract image of John falling into complete darkness (a great contribution from sound designer Jan Schermer), his exploration itself remains off-screen.

Narcosis is the film’s most traditional and least convincing turning point, not in terms of visuals or a well-used and unique soundtrack, but as a trio A clear manifestation of the escalating conflict between the survivors. The film’s strength is its factual blend of the supernatural and the everyday — and its unflashy intimacy.

As compelling and nuanced as Reuten’s performance, the trajectory of her character is no exception but for the psychological aspect. It’s the kids who make this sad story special. Broekhuizen’s savvy photography, which treats each central figure with a delicate but never ostentatious care, does not condescend to Ritsema and van Zoggel. In riveting close-ups, they inhabit mature characters who bravely find their way through disaster. Full credits

Production company: OAK Motion Pictures, NTR

Cast: Thekla Reuten, Fedja van Huêt, Sepp Ritsema, Lola van Zoggel, Vincent van der ValkDirector: Martijn de Jong

Screenwriters: Laura Van Dijk, Martin De Jong
Producer: Trent
1234984457Director of Photography: Martijn van Broekhuizen
Production Designer: Romke Faber
Costume Designer: Manon BlomEdit: Lot Rossmark
Composers: Jorrit Kleijnen, Jacob Meijer

Sound Designer: Jan Schermer

In the Netherlands
1 hour52 minute

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