Are You There?

Maartje Nevejan 90'
It can happen while playing in the surf, or sitting in front of your maths book in the schoolroom. According to the doctors, you have no consciousness and you are not there for a moment. But you see, hear and feel overwhelming and alarming things. You wander through tunnels that become black cubes, or you are ambushed by a wolf, until you feel its breath.
The maker of this film knows about abscesses from her own experience and raised a son who also had them. The film evokes the alienation and timelessness of the absence-experience with poetic images and suggestive sound. And deals with the fear and loneliness caused by the lack of understanding of others for these radically unreal experiences.
Through conversations with family members, young people who have absences and their collaboration with artists, the film interrogates this phenomenon as much more than a disorder. A visit to Anish Kapoor and his works with Vantablack, the ultimate black that deprives eyes and brain of any grip, raises questions about the limits of consciousness. Where body and soul seem to inhabit different realities.
Absences are often frightening and difficult to live with, but they also harbour a great secret, a wonder-world. The mysterious non-being that lies at the bottom of our existence can, like the starry sky, evoke both a feeling of home and a great fear. What are we more than our bodies? Where does that extra come from?
Maartje Nevejan
Maartje Nevejan - director Gys Zevenbergen - editor en sounddesign Jean Counet - camera Fokke van Saane - sound Alex Simú - composer Alex Booy - mixage Rogerio Líra - graphic design Brigit Dopheide - production VPRO Barbara Truyen - editor in chief VPRO Esther van Lune - executive producer Vera Born - producer In coproduction with VPRO. with: May Bieri Caro Jacobs Abel Jansma Mick van Jole Caroline Nevejan Ineke Nevejan - Broekhoven Ruud Lanfermeijer Herman Schippers Sir Anish Kapoor