Two Africa-related productions at this year Movies that Matter film-festival in the Netherlands convincingly move away from the dominant narratives of international aid: The Bastard and The Wound.

By Bart Luirink (ZAM) |

The Bastard tells the multi-layered story of Ethiopian native Daniël Hoek and his Dutch father Joop Hoek, who left him when he was a child. His mixed background does not help in finding his way in life. He was stigmatised, ended up living on the street and got involved in crime. Would his life be different if his father hadn’t left?

Daniël manages to get in touch with a half-brother in Friesland, the Netherlands, and through him with his father. We get to know a man who grew up in colonial Dutch Indonesia, went back to the Netherlands and moved on to Uganda where he lived for more than forty years. The man’s utter racism as well as traumatic experiences in his relationship with his father completely frustrate any reconciliation with his son. It seems that the wisdom of the bastard, the son who made a career as a successful writer after being released from prison, finally gnaws through the shields of paternalism, denial and the absence of an ability to warmly interact. Finally, the father shows some remorse.

The Bastard Synopsis

Ethiopian Daniel Hoek is absolutely convinced that he would never have landed himself in jail if his Dutch father had not abandoned him. His Dutch dad, Joop Hoek, is equally certain that he would have been a different person had he not been deserted by his own, Dutch-East-Indian, father. The Bastard tells both the stories of the adult child and his elderly father. They add up to a moving narrative about destiny and DNA and the role of absent fathers.

With the support of: Dutch Cultural Media Fund, the CoBO Fund & the Dutch Film fund Production Incentive
World premiere: Big Sky Film Fest
Dutch premiere: Movies that Matter

Continue reading this story at ZAM Magazine
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