When Marieke is brutally assaulted in her own apartment – right after ending a longterm relationship – it looks as if she will get over it. She is a strong, modern woman, with friends and a social network: far from helpless. Yet her life falls to pieces and, to the great credit of Lodeizen (as Marieke), in an entirely understandable way.
Marieke moves to a lonely, dilapidated house in the country; presumably in order to clear her head and put her world back together, but for a long time it looks like her loneliness and her rural neighbors´ clumsy attempts to help are only making things worse. She’s clearly not well; and while her extreme inwardness and the precise nature of her fragility makes it almost impossible to get close to her, director Rots manages to build up huge sympathy for a young woman who is almost immobile with fear and silent with terror, and her valiant attempts to claw her way back into life. A small, wonderful first feature from a surprisingly accomplished young director: Rots deserves our attention.
CAN GO THROUGH SKIN (KAN DOOR HUID HEEN) (Netherlands 2009) Directed by Esther Rots with Rifka Lodeizen. Dutch OV with German subtitles. Starts January 28. Rating: 3/4