Confrontation (1989)

A film by Leen van den Berg and Hens van Rooy

The Dutch government pretends that the Netherlands is a hospitable country, but the policy on admitting and providing shelter to refugees has worsened considerably over the past few years. Only one out of ten refugees is granted refugee status in the long run and gains the right to remain in country. Since 1984 Tamils have regularly been in the news in Holland. They form part of the stream of refugees who have fled Sri Lanka since violence flared there in 1983. Only a small number of these refugees come to Europe. Those that do nearly all come from the northern part of Sri Lanka, the ‘Tamil Homelands’, where violence is a daily occurrence.The documentary looks at the case of a Tamil who has just arrived in Holland and is living in a refugee centre, a family admitted on humanitarian grounds but still fighting for political status and another Tamil who is about to be deported.In interviews, the Tamils describe when they fled and why, the situation in Sri Lanka, their journey to the Netherlands, the life they live here and why returning them to Sri Lanka cannot be justified.

The Tamils filmed here can be regarded as ‘examples’ for other refugees. The film is set on a boat that travels around Biesbosch Lake for 24 hours (the Biesbosch was a safe haven for those in hiding during the Second World War). On the boat, preparations are being made for celebration of Taipongal, the Tamils’ annual harvest feast. The interior of the boat is transformed into a ‘taste’ of Sri Lanka. A good thirty Tamils prepare an elaborate rice meal. The Taipongal reaches its highpoint as the sun rises.


28 minuten / colour / optical sound / 16 mm / VHS / Beta SP / Digi Beta
Directors: Leen van den Berg and Hens van Rooy
Camera: Peter Mariouw Smit
Sound: Ben Zijlstra
Editor: Hens van Rooy
Producer: Leen van den Berg
Distribution: Van der Hoop Filmproducties
Sales: Van der Hoop Filmproducties

© Van der Hoop Filmproducties / FEDUCO 1989