My name is Renée. I am 19 years old and I have lost my little brother. I was 4, almost 5, and he was 2. We were always together, I was 'big-sis'.
One afternoon in March, Tuur did not wake up from his afternoon nap. My father ran down the street with Tuur in his hands to call my mother, who was almost out of the street. I hid in the back yard, under the trees, when the ambulance and helicopter arrived. I looked in and saw my mum pass out. I wanted to run to her, but I felt frozen.
The next morning I asked my parents what had happened to Tuur. "He is dead". "Oh, I can conjure him back", and I got my magic things out of the closet.
"Am I no longer big-sis?"
I was hard to reach, didn't seem to mourn. "Renée cycled through it", my parents said. It often made me feel inhumane, as if the loss of Tuur didn't affect me. And when people asked about his age and I told him he was 2 and I was 4, they often responded with "oh, only so young". For years I internalized this as "so it doesn't matter".
For a number of years I have had therapy, where the death of my brother has often been brought up. I was so convinced that there was no lasting impact, that the topic became unmentionable.
Now I'm almost 20. Losing him was already 15 years ago. I have never dared to look back, convicted that I "cycled through it". But when I was asked the question at art school; explore an unknown part of you that you dare not to look at. And so I came face to face with my past again.
This is an ode to Tuur, myself and all the children who go through the same journey.
I believed that Tuur's death could only be hard for my parents, because that was all that was discussed in literature / media. Too little attention is paid to the impact on children of such a loss. With this film I want to discuss this unique perspective. Grief in children, how does it work?
I want to show other children that they are not alone and should take themselves and their feelings seriously. I want to create a safe place. I hope my story is an encouragement to put all thoughts on the table. Much is unconscious and invisible to the outside world. For a long time I wondered if I could not have died better. But instead of putting this on the table, I kept everything inside, which led to gloom in my teens. We always hear that communication is important, and it is! When parents become aware of what can happen inside, they can also offer children better help.
I want to start a conversation about the difficult themes of death and mourning, because I believe that they are not discussed enough. It is often still portrayed as something scary that should not be talked about, but from my own process I notice that giving words to something takes away the weight.
I pick up my grieving process on the basis of this film. It is an ode to Tuur, myself and all the children who go through the same journey.
I, Renée, am 4 and lose my little brother. Now, 15 years later, I close my eyes and go back in time. I investigate whether I cycled through it, as I was told. Which journey have I taken? I am reviewing my journey over the years. This is the red line through the story and is depicted in stop motion animation. I pass stations on my bicycle. The stations represent defining events that have taken place since Tuur's death. I take something from each station in my crate, which makes cycling increasingly difficult. The journey is interspersed with archive material, line animations and images of the present. My voice-over is interspersed with conversations with my parents, my brother and sister who came after Tuur, and friends. For the first time I discuss the undiscussed thoughts and feelings as well as the assumptions I internalized.
The film ends with a reappraisal for what once was and always will be.
hierboven: education platform
In addition to this film, we set up a platform, "above". Together with the organization Hello World, which strives for more creative subjects at school, we want to offer theme lessons to primary schools, in which children learn about death and mourning. We want to engage in a conversation with children, because everyone will have to deal with death. The lessons are completed with creative assignments, showing the film and pieces of information / education.
we need your help
Since I started this project, a fire of urgency has burned in me. In the grown-up world this is not enough, but you will have to have a real budget to realize a project. Maaike and I will be working at the 5AM studios in Amsterdam, where we will make the stop motion animations. This costs a lot of money and time, but as soon as we have collected money with Cinecrowd, we will get started right away. Furthermore, things like music rights, equipment and employees have to be funded. Also 'above' will have to be financed. In return for the contributions, we have come up with nice rewards. For example, you will receive a print or booklet from Eva Eland in the mail or an invitation for a day behind the scenes.
Don't you want anything in return? Please let us know, then we will put everything into realizing the film.
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