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“What counts is your state of mind”

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Ricky Rijneke • Director

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- The 32-year-old Dutch director presented his feature debut Silent Ones, selected in competition and being shown in an international sneak preview during the European film festival in Lecce

Ricky Rijneke • Director

After a world premiere in Rotterdam, the 32-year-old Dutch director Ricky Rijneke presented Silent Ones [+see also:
trailer
festival scope
film profile
]
in an international sneak preview during the European film festival in Lecce. The film is her feature debut, produced by Rotterdam Films. A hypnotic and introspective piece of work, which tells the story of an emotional journey, giving space to sound, light and sensations.  

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Cineuropa: Who is Csilla, your film’s main character?
Ricky Rijneke:
 Csilla is a woman from the East who wakes up from a car accident and cannot find her younger brother, Isti. Confused, she gets on a merchant boat to Western Europe in order to realise her brother’s dream. The film is born from images, atmospheres and the main character’s particular kind of psychological state. Your state of mind is what counts most in my type of cinema. 

Csilla and Isti are the silent ones from the title. Why did you choose to not give more information about their past?
They are two outsiders, who do not belong anywhere. I didn’t think it would be relevant to explain who they were. I thought it would be stimulating to make a film in which not all questions have answers. I let the spectator have space to interpret and think what the possible characters’ motivations could be. 

You use voice off a lot and dialogue is reduced to a minimum. Could one say that the spectator bears witness to a kind of stream of consciousness, entering the main character’s thoughts?
I thought of the film as a poem. We enter the main character’s head and feel what she feels. The landscapes, including her internal one, play a fundamental role in the film and the characters’ lives.

Your film is set in two different places: one, on a boat and two, on a large expanse of land close to a wood. Where did filming take place?
I filmed in Holland. The boat was old and abandoned in the Rotterdam harbour, but everything was still in place. The sense of claustrophobia, the cold and the bad smell were all real. I liked the idea of expanding on a struggle in a dark atmosphere. The boat is like a moving prison, but also like a road to the future. The landscapes are at the Belgian border and transmit a sense of alienation.

How did you choose your starring actress, Hungarian Orsi Toth?
I met her in Locarno. I had seen her in many films. I chose her because she was capable of showing emotions without speaking. I studied her way of behaving and her appearance, and on that basis, I changed some parts of the screenplay to adapt them to her.

The film has an open ending. How can one interpret it?
Everyone sees it in his or her own way. Some see the end of the film as if the child never existed, like a metaphor for a lost childhood. Others, in a more realistic way, think the child gets up and goes to seek help.

Was financing the film difficult?
Not particularly. Also because the budget was quite low and it was made in collaboration with Hungary. I worked with people from all around Europe, the director of photography is Hungarian, the music composer Russian. Many different nationalities worked on the film: Polish people, Czechs, Belgians. A beautiful European collaboration. 

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