Xenia (15) is a shy girl that doesn’t feel in place in the over-regulated society she’s living in. Searching for a place of her own, she discovers an island on which time doesn’t seem to exist. There, she finds the key to her future.
Xenia, a fifteen-year-old girl, is different than other girls. She doesn’t live far from the big city in a time that is the near future. All people are compulsorily happy and society is in perfect order. As it was considered to have too many links with trouble and misfortune, the past has been declared taboo.
Her brother Arnout is the only person Xenia feels strangely attached to. With him Xenia shares vague memories of different times, when their grandmother was still alive. Every morning Xenia tells him her dreams. Nearly all of her dreams are about quests that never reach a goal.
Xenia takes her own route to school every day, across a narrow path through no-man’s-land. One day an old man addresses her and asks her to deliver a letter to a certain Agnes who lives on the nearby island. She wants to refuse at first, for the island is forbidden terrain and does not yet belong to the structure. The man insists and Xenia hesitantly takes the letter.
The ferryman takes Xenia to the other side. A long straight road leads through the landscape to madam Agnes’s house. Xenia hands her the letter and to her surprise she sees warm, summery light shine in and shadows move much faster than normal. Xenia has entered a world in which there is no time and where besides happiness, sadness also exists. Unstructured and confusing, but real.
Madam Agnes gives Xenia a key. The key gets Xenia into trouble at school. It is forbidden to possess keys from the past. At night in her room Xenia takes another look at the key. When she holds the key out in her hand, images from the past force themselves upon her. Alarmed she lays down the key. She decides to return it.
The ferryman takes Xenia across again. On the island Xenia meets the mysterious Minke, who advises her to make haste with the questions she wants to ask. Time is running out. Shyly, Xenia asks madam Agnes: why do I exist? Do I have a goal? Madam Agnes says that the goal is happiness, but that it’s up to her to find it. She advises Xenia to do what lies ahead of her and to not make a fuss about nothing.
When during the school party a boy teases Xenia, she decides to take madam Agnes’s advice: she kisses him on the mouth. With a new kind of confidence she walks out, leaving everybody behind looking baffled.
But not all of Xenia’s questions have been answered. How should she go on? After a last wise piece of advice madam Agnes appears to have disappeared. And unknown soldiers shoot Minke in front of Xenia’s eyes, for being a spy.
Xenia has to return once more; this time she has the key with her. Madam Agnes’s house looks like it was deserted years ago. Here and there lie remnants of the past: a paper kite, a snapshot of a woman in traditional costume who looks exactly like Xenia, and the envelope that contained the letter from the old man to madam Agnes.
There is nothing left of what has ever been. Xenia realises that she is the one who should save the island from the structure. There is only one solution: she opens the old sluice and the waters streams in.
In an old rowing boat she sails to the mainland. Nothing can happen to her anymore. She knows what to do. Everything is all right.
Pitou Nicolaes (Xenia)
Yorrin Kootstra (Arnout)
Annemarie Prins (Mevrouw Agnes)
Bert Luppes (Veerman)
Ria Marks (Minke van de Majoor)
Khaldoen Alexander Elmecky (Meneer Abdulkadir)
Cas Enklaar (Oude man)
Sandra Vlaar (Lizzie)
script & direction: Digna Sinke
director of photography: Richard van Oosterhout NSC
editing: Michiel Reichwein
composer: Paul M. van Brugge
sound design: Jan Willem van den Brink & Tom Bijnen
production design: Vincent de Pater
costumes: Margriet Procee
line producer: Bernadette Bout
production manager: Femke Bennink
associated producer: Marion Hänsel / Man’s Film Productions
delegated producer: Koji Nelissen
producer: Wilant Boekelman & Jan van der Zanden / Waterland Film & TV
stills: Dinand van der Wal
set photo’s and Pitou at Tiengemeten: Digna Sinke
this film is financially supported by:
Boeddhistische Omroep Stichting
Nederlands Fonds voor de Film