(82 min) Netherlands
[watch trailer]

TUESDAY 10/22 4:50 PM (SESSION 12)

Director: Stella van Voorst van Beest
Producer: Simone van den Broek


Loneliness hides behind closed doors and around every corner. But can you fight it without facing your own fear of death? When Rotterdam citizen Bep de Bruin is found dead in her home, lying there unnoticed for ten years, the city is in shock. How could this happen? Ada (59) and her best friend Wilma (70) decide to volunteer for the local government’s response: a campaign against loneliness. Together, they go door to door to check in on elderly citizens, looking for lonely people that fit the profile and need help. This is how they meet Jan, who has barely left his home in seven years. In fighting to stay independent, his loneliness intensifies, and Ada and Wilma are upset by his insufficient quality of care. They also encounter Tilly, a strong and stubborn woman who has contact with no one but her beloved dog, and refuses every offer of support. Overwhelmed by the loneliness they encounter, and by their fear for what this means for them and their city, Ada and Wilma stop observing—and take action.


Stella van Voorst van Beest studied social history at the Erasmus University and documentary and editing at the Dutch Film Academy in Amsterdam. Her films are characterized by a strong visual, observing style. Between 1998 and 2004 she made three films in cooperation with visual artist Freek Drent. The films were all shot in Romania: The Umbrella Factory, Building Blocks and Pig. The films were also shown as part of the installations in the Kunsthal (Toys of Gloom 1999) en Museum Boijmans van Beuningen (Delay 2004).  She also made various short and long documentaries like It's not gonna work, Prisoners of the Ground  on the Finnish Tango and The Hum of Holland.  At the moment she is developing a new documentary: You said what we thought. As an editor she works on documentaries and experimental feature films. She founded, in cooperation with Lukas Simonis, Popifilm, a non-profit foundation that set as a goal to show films that were seldom or never shown in the Filmtheatre: experimental-, Art-and Cultfilms. 

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