It's All So Quiet
(Boven is het stil, Nanouk Leopold, Netherlands/Germany 2013, 93 min., DCP, Dutch w/subtitles)
Helmer, a single farmer in his fifties, lives with his aged, bedridden father in the Dutch countryside. His working days are marked by the visits of milk collector Johan, a man of his own age for whom Helmer holds a secret fascination. One day Helmer decides to renovate the house, buying himself a new double bed and moving his father upstairs. His life gains even more momentum when adolescent farmhand Henk comes to help him out. The late Jeroen Willems, in his final leading role for the big screen, turns in a powerful, slow-burn performance. In this battle of wills between two powerful personalities—the father, once domineering and now in decline, and the son, preparing to live his own life when his father is gone—what is left unsaid takes precedence over dialogue. But when unexpected words do come to Helmer late in the film, their quiet force is indisputable. Fifth feature by one of the most singular European filmmakers at work today.