A young girl enters puberty then hurtles toward adulthood in record speed in this strange, handsomely mounted English-language fable from Dutch director Paula van der Oest (ZUS & ZO). In a secluded wood close to an airport, an adolescent boy (Hunter Bussemaker) is forced to defecate as one of the men accompanying him digs what appears to be a grave. When approaching voices are heard, another man shoots the boy in the abdomen and leg, then leaves him for dead. Soon after, in a nearby house, a young girl named Claire (Laurien van den Broeck), whose adoptive parents (Jemma Redgrave, Johan Leysen) haven't yet told her about menstruation, is shocked to discover blood between her legs and, in a panic, hides in an outdoor shed, where she discovers the young boy, badly wounded and barely alive. Oddly, as the blood dripping from his wounds mixes with the menstrual blood that's soaked through her clothes, Claire decides to care for the boy herself instead of notifying either her parents or the police, even though it might cost the boy his life. After she cleans his wounds and applies a dressing, she cradles his head and licks his face. When he soils himself, Claire finds what the men in the woods were waiting for: several bundles of drugs tied in rubber balloons, which the boy had apparently been forced to swallow before smuggling them into the country. When the boy finally regains consciousness, Claire attempts to speak to him in the languages she knows French, German, English but to no avail; the boy speaks only what sounds like Dari. Claire is nevertheless able to let him know that he's in grave danger a strange man has been seen prowling around the property like a big, bad wolf and that they must make a quick getaway. Claire's plan is to pass the boy off as her mentally challenged sister and sneak aboard a bus filled with handicapped young girls who are being escorted by nuns to a shrine for the Virgin Mary. From there they'll make their way to Luxembourg, where Claire's parents have recently purchased a new home. Along the way, Claire and the boy begin experimenting with sex, drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, and as their journey grows increasingly nightmarish, their pursuers close in. The film grows increasingly hard to believe would a child really experiment with heroin? And how did Claire learn to drive a van? even as it's clear that Van der Oest intends the film to be read as an allegory. The idea appears to be that as Claire embarks on this dangerous journey toward womanhood, she achieves a maturity that has nothing to do with her chronological age although her emotional development [i]is[/i] reflected in subtle physical changes. By the time she has sex with the boy, she no longer looks as young as she did when we first saw her, but the film is still a pretty daring and disconcerting depiction of adolescent sexuality.
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- Released: 2002
- Rating: NR
- Review: A young girl enters puberty then hurtles toward adulthood in record speed in this strange, handsomely mounted English-language fable from Dutch director Paula van der Oest (ZUS & ZO). In a secluded wood close to an airport, an adolescent boy (Hunter Bussem… (more)