ANTONIA'S LINE
DIRECTOR:                     MARLEEN GORRIS
COUNTRY:                     NEDERLANDS 1995
CINEMATOGRAPHY:   WILLY STASSEN
MUSIC:                           ILONA SEKACZ
CAST:                             Willeke van Ammelrooy, Els Dottermans, Jan Decleir, Marina de Graaf, Mil Seghers
SUPER FEATURES:       Great story. Excellent moments. Funny.


It is films like this that redefine what films are made for. And it typifies the attitude that is the European community, versus the American style of action pictures that are vacuous. They may have a lot of clever things in it, but they have little substance.  ANTONIA'S LINE may not have much action, the film is very slow, but it does have charm, character, passion, and beauty, and on top of it, a magnificent story, and outline.

Antonia has moved back into town, because her mother is on her final days. She has come into town without a husband, and with a daughter of marrying age. They both immediately become the talk of the town and the immediate attention of all the members that want to mix with the two women. But, unlucky for them, both women are independent and do not spend much time at the usual lifestyle of mating and making children, which seems all that the whole community has to live for.

The town is an incredible hodgepodge of characters, that are totally out there, which makes the film even more enjoyable. And how they all blend in is rather funny.

Antonia's daughter, one day decides that she wants a child, but does not want a husband. They end up in the city, where her daughter visits a
brothel and gets together with a man who is one of the owner's favorite lovers, and probable father of at least one of her children. Of course,
the daughter gets pregnant and this starts the film on chapter two. We find that the daughter is gay, and she now lives with her friend. And
other matches are made in the village, including one young man who is a bit slow. And eventually, Antonia also gets in the mood, and takes on
a lover, a man about her age, who has a myriad of sons, and no wife to help him raise his children. She has not allowed anything to come to pass between her and him, for years. And when it finally happens, the film is all aglow. Everyone is happy, and everyone has a lover/wife/husband and the there are no worries anywhere.

And then the film turns. Antonia's grandchild grows to be a young woman that is head and shoulders above most of anyone, and has a tutor, who is the town's lonely man, always buried in his books and studies. In school the young lady even embarrasses a teacher because he is not capable and intelligent enough to see what is happening. The whole class ends up leaving the room, after the girl's lead.

But this girl, one day meets a rather somber moment in life. She gets raped by one of the village guys, who thinks that he is better than most. And this is dealt with in a very harsh manner, but considering what he did, it may be thought of as some sort of justice.

The film progresses, and ends on a somber note. The town's tutor, is a sad, disappointed man, who apparently had fallen in love with Antonia, but she did not respond. He has his only smile in the whole film in the beginning when she returns to the village.

This kind of brings the film to an end. Antonia's grand granddaughter, is the one telling us the story, and we finally notice why the characters are so strange. They are basically seen through a child's eyes, and the punishments, and the events all come and go with the same horrific flavor that this film brings forth. It seems that the events are all very important, and  they all have serious consequences as to the chain of events.

But none, take away from the enjoyment of this film. It just won't quit, even in the end, when you shut the video player down, and the film is still in your mind... wonder what all this is about.

By the style of directing and story telling, the film is not about anything in particular. It covers three generations, and it displays problems that
each of these generations has had with its own growth and time. But these problems never stop the growth of it all. and as the film says in the end, nothing "has come to an end".... except this fine film, with so many excellent moments.

Of special interest and fun here, are the priest and his turn around. He is probably set up, because he is a dirty old fart anyway, but it is all for the best. And who he ends up with is a treat. One could say that there are meanings here and there, but all in all, these are understated as a
part of the whole picture, which is the whole film. Yes, we can say that there are pointed moments, and statements, but when one does that, this film loses some of its really precious moments. Like Antonia's daughter and grand daughter always seeing things happening... in the oddest of moments... and these bits are so enjoyable that it is hard to fault a film for anything else.

Well thought out, beautifully written, and worth seeing.

4 GIBLOONS

 

   

      

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