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Category: Edition 2004


1969. Nine year old Caro lives on a pig farm in a small town in Holland with her four other siblings and another on the way. She is determinate to understand the mysteries of the world around her. But her catholic father can’t explain the new world and her mother is too busy for philosophy so she converse with God. One day at school she is horrified to learn that man will set foot on the moon. In her eyes it’s not possible that God would allow anyone to get so close to heaven. Her dad agrees, and, unable to cope with modern-day progress, hits the bottle. Caro is preparing for her first holy communion but before that she seals a pact with her father: to overcome her fear of swimming in exchange, he will not touch a drop of alcohol. When he breaks his promise, disrupting family life, her communion party ends in disaster. Heartbroken, Caro starts to lose hope. When she turns to her free-spirited aunt who’s enjoying the early fruits of 70s emancipation, and finally manages to swim, she learns an important lesson: not to worry about things beyond her control.

Category Official Competition
Section Free to Fly
Tipology Feature Film
Duration 105'
Production Year 2003
Nationality Belgium, Netherlands
Directed by Stijn Coninx
Screenplay Jacqueline Epskamp
Script Jacqueline Epskamp
Director of photography Walther van den Ende
Editor Ludo Troch
Production Design Peter Menne
Costume Design Kristin Van Passel
Sound Henri Morelle
Music Henny Vrienten
Main cast Huub Stapel (Mees Sr.)
Johanna ter Steege (Ita)
Neeltje de Vree (Caro)
Nyk Runia (Mees jr.)
Yannic Pieters (Bram)
Julia Van Lisenburg (Annette)
Produced by Els Vandevors,t Ineke van Wierst

sea of silence regStijn Coninx

Born in 1957 in Neerpelt (Belgium), he is one of the most successful directors from Flanders. Professor at the RITS Film Academy in Belgium since 1993, he was Knighted as a Baron the same year, going on to be elected President of the Flemish Film Institute between 1994 and 1999. In 1992 he became internationally known with Daens which was nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign film.


Director’s statement

“When I read the script the first time it wasn’t clear to me why the father was drinking. In the end, I saw it as a reaction to the fact the world was changing too rapidly for him. He didn’t understand it anymore. This story could have taken place anywhere although we decided to keep in the Netherlands. I think it has particular relevance today when the world is moving even faster. We live in a time when sitting hooked to the internet is more important than sitting in the sun and thinking about life. There is no time for anything anymore”.

Festival contact
Isabella Films


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