Sunday, June 19, 2011

Tirza (2010)

Tirza (2010)
Tirza (2010)

Genre: Drama
Director: Rudolf van den Berg
Starring: Johanna ter Steege, Sylvia Hoeks, Hasrdin Dchar, Abbey Hoes, Gijs Scholten van Aschat
Duration: 100 min.
Rating: 6.8

Jörgen's world is crumbling.  Forced into early retirement and harassed by his ex-wife, the only part of his life which makes sense, his beloved daughter Tirza, is shattered when she disappears on holiday in Namibia.  After weeks of terrifying uncertainty, Jörgen goes searching for her, but the heat, his drinking and bad memories combine to unhinge him.  His only ally is a child prostitute called Kaisa.  Together they journey into the wilderness on Tirza's trail to discover her fate.

Tirza is a Dutch film directed by Rudolf van den Berg and based on a novel by Arnon Grunberg.  It was selected as The Netherlands entry to the 83rd Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.

A somewhat disturbing psychological study of a man who has lost his purpose in life, the film follows Jorgen (Gijs Scholten van Aschat) a middle aged man recently forced to retire early and whose youngest daughter Tirza (Sylvia Hoeks) goes missing while on vacation to Namibia.  Convinced that she's in trouble, Jorgen sets off to look for her. 

The film is very well directed, seamlessly blending the present with flashbacks and imaginary scenes together to create a tense and confusing atmosphere.  Leaving us never quite sure whether the events we are seeing are real or a figment of Jorgen's alcohol fueled imagination.  Gijs Scholten van Aschat handles this flawed character perfectly and makes it fascinating to watch his downward spiral unfold.  Much praise should also be given to Gabor Szabo's cinematography especially in the latter parts of the film, with gorgeous shots of the Namibian desert and coast.

Some scenes though are very uncomfortable and unsettling to watch, as we see flashbacks of Jorgen and Tirza's almost too close father-daughter dynamic, one rife with incestuous innuendo; and a sort of surrogate daughter but terribly inappropriate relationship that he develops with Kaisa (Keitumetse Matlabo), a 9 year old Namibian child prostitute, who plays the role a bit too naturally for this viewer's comfort.  Thankfully in either case the film never actually crosses the line though it implies it ever so dangerously.

Ultimately Tirza is an interesting and engaging, but not necessarily enjoyable film about the plight of a middle aged, middle class, first world, white male.  The director must be a fan of the Coen Brothers.

Tirza (2010)

Tirza (2010)

Tirza (2010)

Tirza (2010)

Tirza (2010)

Tirza (2010)

Tirza (2010)

Tirza (2010)


d_4 said...

This one smells of all kinds of messed up interestings.

Moviemonstrosityblog said...

Arnon Grunberg, love his column in Humo Magazine :D

derek rampersad said...

yeah im with D4. one probably has a warped feature to make it interesting

Hoi-Ming Ng said...

This one I might check out. I mean, um.. (o o __) (___ o o)

Jack L said...

This sounds like pretty uncomfortable viewing. Perhaps not to my taste...

Nice review though.

Thenitefalls said...

That was one of the shortest trailers I seen, but makes me want to the travel the vast desert.

Dibyajyoti Sarma said...

It's a commendable effort, yet as you said it's a difficult watch, especially when cannot really empathise with the protagonist. But the desert scene was really we done.  

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Its more of a teaser, I couldn't find a subtitled version of the real trailer.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

If anything, it will bring some more disturbing Google searches my way.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Yeah a film like this is far more uncomfortable viewing for me than any horror film.  Just because the events are based on things that happen for real.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Yeah that does make it extra difficult. 

Hermann Rorschach said...

Uh, the teaser was kind of...lacking?

Still, based on your description...
Ah excellent, there is a version with English subs "available" right now. Looks like something I am in the mood for (bleak.)

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Cool, if you end up watching it, I'd love to know what you think.

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