Zucht (2007)

Name: Sigh
Original name: Zucht
Year:2007
country of origin: The Netherlands
Director: Margien Rogaar
Genre: Short film
Duration: 10 mins
Starring:Yannick de Waal, Moo Miero, Roeland Fernhout

 

Zucht is one of those movies you have to watch several times to fully get its meaning.At first the movie did not seem very promising or meaningful. One may even say that Zucht is quite a confusing film. However if you see it a few times through the eyes of the different characters (imagining it really)its quite possible that it will give you different very impressions about the film and the life around you.

 

Camerawork

The camera work in this film was pretty decent for a short film. The actors were all very good looking and had very expressive faces and posture. The camera work was pretty adequate for this. Taking pictures in the water that are still and steady are quite difficult without a lot of investment. Skin and face close-ups were frequent and that made the atmosphere of the movie seem more personal and intimate. That fact alone brings kudos to the film and it’s makers.The timing and pacing were also quite smooth and flowing.

The Plot

The main character was a 13 year old boy who is yet to feel the first trembles of love. He seems pretty shy to me smiling when a girl called him for a bike ride and then at the beach it become clear that he is a bit embarrassed by his body, as he struggled behind the towel to change in his swimming suit. When it comes to nudity I found his behavior quite weird but that’s me. I am used to hanging out at nude beaches where I have to admit it’s quite odd when you see someone acting the way that boy did. On a side note it was obvious that the girl liked him a lot it’s just that I could not figure out if man that went riding with them was her father, a brother or another of their friends.

That in itself could turn the meaning of the movie at 180 degrees.

Below you will see the various and diverse interpretations of the movies meaning.

One reviewer wrote:

12 year old Erik goes to the beach with his friend Sofie and her dad.Sofie seems to be in love with Erik, but Erik seems to be a lot more interested in her dad!

And another wrote:

In this movie, Erik awakening to the joys of sexuality, the stirrings of love and the pleasures of the human skin. I think the message is one of freedom and innocence, at a time when coming of age facing a life changing experience – is that magic happy time in our lives .

And still another:

The previous relationship which he obviously had with the other boy who was a friend the way only two boys can be, form and the symbolic separation on the bicycle ride to the beach. From the open “shedding of the skin”

symbolic of aging to the final kiss. Once at the beach the previous relationship which was consensual and mutual, probably from an early age became tentative. He was obviously still aroused by the sight of his friend becoming naked and hid his forming erection behind the towel then rushed to the water. He was evolving. The young girl who was very pretty obviously had eyes for him and he for her. But he was still torn between what was and what he wanted now. She delivered and invitation in a kiss. He had to decide now.

He rushed to his friend now in the water to say a final goodbye delivering his message with the tag of continued love signaled that although he was changing from a boy to a young man that he would always have love for his childhood mate.

He returned to the young girl with the last vestiges of his boyhood washed away, he accepted her invitation.

As you can see, how you identify the older male role in this movie can change your perception of it’s meaning dramatically.

Soundtrack and Audio

At its very begging the movie had quite a modern techno music – which could make you wonder what kind of film it would be.There was very little dialogue in the place which made the plot a bit harder to get adding to the initial confusion the movie caused . However it could be argued that  the acting compensated for the limited dialog as much had to be said with the eyes, body language and the directors clues. Finally it should be noted that the dialogue is in Dutch – and probably the limitations of the dialogue would actually do you a favor if you are not familiar with this language.

the English translation “Sigh” means “1. A deep and prolonged audible inspiration or respiration of air, as when fatigued or grieved; the act of sighing.[so i found it quite interesting that none of the characters really do “sigh’ audibly at all, but that the “sighing” is all done in the imagery and what i saw throughout the movie

To summarize

A very symbolic and moving piece done in a very short film.Symbolic films are very difficult because different cultures have different value bases. Your understanding and  definition what  love is could change. It demonstrated the dilemma of sexual choice in the adolescent male. Such a simple movie it has really makes you think  about things so much.  ‘Zucht’ could have an awakening effect on you .

– now i get it: close friendship is a form of love!

 

Note : What you just read is the first result of the SkyKid.org’s joint movie review forum. The review above is based on the opinions of SkyKid, Joe11,Bestpi,´KID combined and blended in a joint review . To see the separate opinions or if you want to leave your own visit the disscusion thread or leave a comment to this post.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Your comment about people changing at the beach under a towel – as did Zucht did in this short film reminds me of when I used to substitute for PE teachers. This was recently between 2005 and 2013. In middle school for all grades, 6th, 7th and 8th grade, the boys would pile into the locker rooms to change into shorts and a T-shirt – usually provided by the school. In the middle schools (and HS schools) where I subbed, a PE teacher was required to be in the locker room as the boys changed. I must admit is felt kind of strange watching all these boys changing into PE shorts and a T-shirt. No one ever said anything, but many of the kids would kind of look at you like your were a pervert of something. But anyway, all the boys were doing was taking their pants and street shirt off and putting on gym shorts and shirt. Nothing more. They still had on their underwear and sometimes a white T-shirt under the PE shirt. And EVEN with this, there were at least two or there to five or six boys who would head for the restrooms where they could change in and then later out of their gym clothes. They weren’t even naked! Long gone are the days in all the public schools that I know about where boys took everything off, put on a jockstrap, gym shorts and shirt. Showers? You’ve got to be kidding? Boys haven’t taken showers in the public schools – elementary, middle or high – since at least the 1960s if even then! (A lot of might uncleanly young boys running around!) It is my educated guess that boys don’t take showers any more in schools for two reasons: 1) The most important reason which I alluded to earlier: an adult male PE teacher had to be present in the locker room. This man had to be watching the boys all the time and no matter what his real intentions were if his watching the boys as part of his job of watching 12 year olds stripping naked in order to simply put on a jock strap and gym clothes, or worse naked in a shower, was interpreted by a young 12 year old as even slightly provocative there could be hell to pay. 2) The second reason is less important. A typical gym class today is about 40 minutes. This includes changing in and out of gym clothes so there’s only about 30 minutes of actual gym time. If showers were included after every gym class, they’d have about 15 minutes of PE!

    I suppose there could be a third reason though it shouldn’t be of concern. Both boys and girls have PE together. In our day, the PE classes were only for boys and girls separately. In my opinion, for most of the PE classes that I subbed for, PE was more of a break from the classroom. In middle school and high school, it was sort of like recess though the PE classes did have things like even roller skating and bowling at a nearby alley and for elementary at one school they had large parachutes which the kids in a circle would raise up and down learning rhythm and playing together in a common activity.

    I got a bit off topic, but the idea here is that PE isn’t like it was when we were in school.

  2. I think most people would watch this little movie and simply come away with the idea it was basically showing the boy as being a homosexual but not yet aware of it, which I have to admit seems pretty obvious. He kinda seems to be pretending to like the girl, probably more as a friend, but when she kisses him he kinda has a gross face. Sure that could also be interpreted that that would be a typical young boy response ,”girls got cooties!” kinda thing, but the way the boy seems to be looking at the father CONSTANTLY at the beach, as he undresses, looking at his back in a that kinda mysterious longing way, he just kinda stands in the beach looking at him, the way the camera shoots the whole thing, I mean…..cmon, its quite obvious he’s interested in him. And of course lets not forget he friggin runs all the way to the father at the dock and draws a HEART ON HIS BACK. how much more obvious does it have to be that the boy has got a crush on the dad? all in all I found this to be pretty weird movie, I mean I felt bad for the girl, the whole time she thinks the boy is into her but deep down he’s really into the dad. just weird. I did like the other metaphorical interpreatations though, but most people wouldn’t probably look at it that way.

  3. A good summary. Though I don’t think Zucht needs to made too complicated a matter of. I see it as being all about confusion and growing sense of awareness without having any real answers. I have to say I personally love this movie. I found it simple yet moving in both the camera work, plot and subtle soundtrack. Bravo.

  4. I am still unsure if one should decide on an universal age which is to be valid to all individuals as to determine the period of transition between childhood and adulthood – despite the ” norms ” which are placed in most societies . To me the time period in which a person comes of age is individual as people come from different backgrounds , having different experiences , mentality …etc.

    That is why I can`t really relate the coming of age with the transition from childhood to adulthood – as if we go by the definition of Daniel “….understanding of our own feelings and accepting them and it is the finding of our own passions in life and the things that make life worth living.” – this could be valid for someone who is 12 as well as for someone who is 20 .

  5. But the demarcation between childhood and adulthood is so abstract unless you define what is changing and consider those changes according to the current human culture not some abstract ideology or theory.

    What is the difference between a child and a non-child?
    To me it is the free thinking that comes from realizing you're experiencing the world on your own and making sense of it, it is the understanding of our own feelings and accepting them and it is the finding of our own passions in life and the things that make life worth living.

    It is clear to me that such demarcation is at most between the age of 7-8 when people stop being a baby and became individuals. Nowadays young people have been granted more free of expression and it's pretty clear how human, complete, deep they are and how little concrete difference there's between a mature 10 year old and a mature 30 year old. While the difference between a mature 10 year old and an immature 30 year old is dramatic. It's not even clear to me that puberty triggers dramatic changes because young people are very in tune with their body, mind and feelings way before pubety and as far as we know puberty is just the final physical appareance of a maturity that had already developed inside not surfaced outside yet.

  6. “and I don't believe for a moment that the whole artificial phase before the age of 18 is extremely different and special compared to what will come next.”

    Oh, I think it is… ! Since we are talking about two different phases of life here – childhood and adulthood. We all have only one childhood, an it comes to end sooner or later. This breaking point in the live of everyone could be considered as the actual “coming of age”. And since there only are these two phases – childhood and adulthood – the slow (or fast) switch between those is one of the more interesting aspects.

    It has nothing to do with the age indeed – but by being 16, 17 or 18 you simply are no longer a child ! This is just my opinion on it.

    Greetings, Ikarus

  7. “and I don't believe for a moment that the whole artificial phase before the age of 18 is extremely different and special compared to what will come next.”

    Oh, I think it is… ! Since we are talking about two different phases of life here – childhood and adulthood. We all have only one childhood, an it comes to end sooner or later. This breaking point in the live of everyone could be considered as the actual “coming of age”. And since there only are these two phases – childhood and adulthood – the slow (or fast) switch between those is one of the more interesting aspects.

    It has nothing to do with the age indeed – but by being 16, 17 or 18 you simply are no longer a child ! This is just my opinion on it.

    Greetings, Ikarus

  8. My own understanding that coming of age as a period in life is not related to specific age being 12,16,18 or whatever. It is not always related to feelings towards others – rather is related to personal growth and development of the individual – other than that I agree that ( becoming 18 ) is an arbitrary social concept with no meaning which even varies according to the societies .

    Thanks for your comments Daniel.

  9. The coming of age concept is a nonsense to me. I can understand some of the concept that when you mature you suddenly have weird feelings an feel attracted to others. But this might be related to puberty (even though I know lot of people had those feelings way before puberty) but not becoming of age, which is just an arbitrary social concept with no real meaning (becoming 18) and I don't believe for a moment that the whole artificial phase before the age of 18 is extremely different and special compared to what will come next.

    What I see here is a nice daily story, something that could be happening to anyone in whatever moment, about the attempt of a young guy to make a first (but we don't know it, and this kind of thing might be have happened a lot of times before the film is set) move towards expressing his attraction to another male without causing suspicious in the girl who believes to be who he is attracted to.

  10. I see it as a film about breaking out of one's shell, experiencing the new, and even frightening experiences that come with coming of age.

  11. Actually it seems clear to me that he takes advantage of the fact that the girl will have her eyes closed to touch the person he is really interested in. Clearly he has to kiss the girl eventually not to cause suspicion since she has been with the eyes closed for so long. But I don't see at all him choosing the girl instead of the man and saying good bye to childhood love in order to grow (as if who you are attracted to has anything to do with maturity or being a boy versus a man or other nonsense)

  12. The boys peeling the dead skin from a blister is a metaphor for his
    metamorphous into a man from a boy. His shyness in disrobing with the man presesnt indicates they have not been intimate. The man may be the girl’s father or relative, but it is the boy that has a crush on him, a very common emotion in young boys concerning older boys or men. It is based on the need for a hero and is met by acquaintences or popular entertainers or sports figures. I think that is the extent of the relationship.

  13. This was a rather sweat and enjoyable Dutch short film. For being so short it sure did cover the subject of “coming of age” more deeply and more sincere than many other films made on the similar theme. It´s surprisingly well done, not least cinematographically. And the cast is also well picked for this film. Especially since there´s not much of a dialogue you have to be rather talented to make a film like this running, and it´s also realistically done, almost with a documentary touch.
    This is one of the best films I´ve seen on the particular subject of adolescent boys´awakening search for love. And I would recommend it to anyone intersted in the “coming of age”-genre.

  14. This movie is great!I have watched it before and that was really gave something what i could not find in any else c.o.a movies.it is short but meaning many things.Really good.
    Thanx
    Bedevi

  15. Brevity is the soul of wit. It is just remarkable how many messages one could put into a 10-minute-movie format.

    A nice short film that could leave one thoughtful. Points for the good acting – this boy as the torn-between character is doing a great job, I think.

    I’m glad you reviewed it here – also by offering some different interpretations on it.

    Greetings, Ikarus

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