Nummer achttien, the breath of life
Shown in cinemas in Holland only this March.
Watch the trailer
After a near-fatal accident, filmmaker Guido van der Werve muses about the highs and lows of his own life as he endures a long process of recovery. Instead of a linear narrative, Nummer achttien is structured as a series of movements: it departs from the classical documentary to present us with a series of vignettes that combine past and present, existentialist despair and deadpan humour, reflection and creativity, the joys and pains of remembering and forgetting.
Selected for the Tiger Competition, Nummer achttien feels like a moving exorcism that goes deep into the roots of familial traumas but manages to eschew any judgemental stance – exposing the eclectic, eccentric and very loveable personality of the filmmaker. Imbued with a strange emotion devoid of any sentimentalism, this is an ode to the absurdity and fragility of life that swerves easily between comic re-enactments to everyday tests of endurance. Staging surprising performances of classical music with newly written lyrics, or offering biological explanations against the backdrop of his father’s paintings, Guido van der Werve pays homage to the beauty and complexity of the world with a film filled both with gratitude and the desire to leave a unique imprint.
– Cristina Álvarez López