Poco Mosso (1993)

A film by Barbara den Uyl

After the birth of my second son, I felt I needed to start taking part in sport to keep myself fit. I saw an ad in the free local newspaper: the local volleyball club is looking for new members with some experience, aged 35-55. As I set foot in the changing room I noticed that the age range was probably nearer to 55-65. Being 38, I felt like a bit of an outsider amongst these people who had been members for years, some for as many as 25. But they were very friendly and obliging, so I stayed. Only much later did I find out more about them. Willem (57) had suffered a nervous breakdown and was in the process of selling his photography shop. Fred (56) had recently been fired because the American company he worked for closed down. George (59) was being pressured into early retirement, something he was very reluctant to do. Thea (55) had, after thirty years of being an editor on a medical journal, been given the choice: either disability benefit or dismissal. Marjo (35) a former nurse, had been declared unfit to work after two attempts to commit suicide and Myrthe (47), ex-dancer, ex-tea-lady, had taken early retirement years ago.I was shocked by all these stories and by the fatalistic attitude they revealed: “Everything in my life just happened to me, I never actively chose to do anything.” “If I didn’t work, I had no right to be there.”

I realised that it is impossible for anyone to reach the age of retirement unscathed. Can that be blamed on society or is it partly one’s own fault too? In any case they had not had an easy time. They had all been children during the war or during the reconstruction period that followed. Duty and sobriety were key terms. Children had to be good, had to live up to strict expectations. “I always thought about how other people thought I was doing, not about what I myself wanted” says Willem. And Myrthe says “I was always cheerful, because if I wasn’t, nobody liked me”

This film shows how fear, shyness, a sense of guilt and wanting to live up to other people’s expectations has shaped these people’s lives. Luckily none of them really gave in. All of them have enough resilience to reshape their lives. They continue to play their game, poco mosso (with a little movement).


80 minutes / colour / optical sound / 16 mm / Beta SP / VHS / Digi Beta
Direction/screenplay: Barbara den Uyl
Camera: Frans Bromet
Sound: Paul Veld
Editing: Jan Dop
Production: Heleen Snuverink
Producer: Leen van der Berg
Distribution: Cinemien
Sales: Van der Hoop Filmproducties

This film was made with the financial support of the Dutch Cultural Broadcasting Fund

© Van der Hoop Filmprodukties / RVU 1993