Under the Skin
The struggle and urge to belong to a group, at the expense of others. I became aware of this when watching famous American films, but in real-life this often happens in a very subtle devious way amongst girls.
Premiered: September 2019
Director and concept developer: Emma Branderhorst
Scenario: Janna Grosfeld
Producers: Eva Schaaf, Patou ten Cate
DOP: Michel Rosendaal
Production Design: Dorus Witte
Editor: Tessel de Vries
Costume design: Viv Pype, Emma Postma
Sound design: Gijs Domen, Freek Vrijhof
Sound on set: Kristian Knoop, Jochem Smit, Gijs Domen
Music: Leonard Kluen, Tom Schipper
Swimming choreography: Elianne Essayan
Wildcard Dutch Film Festival for the best new film talent 2019, Premiered at Berlinale Generation, Cinekid for best youth film 2020
Best editing, Calcutta internation short film festival 2020, India
Best Film, Cinema in Sneakers 2020, Poland
“With this film I wanted to show the subtle power play between girls. I wanted the viewer to feel how trapped you can be and how toxic this battle between girls is.” - Emma
It looks like a perfect friendship. But below the surface there are great tensions between three girlfriends, who are training for the championship synchronized swimming.
Under the skin tells the story of Keesje, an introverted 15-year-old. She and her friends, Lize and Dunja, are part of a synchronized swimming team. From the outside it all looks like the perfect friendship, but behind the surface hide continuous tensions between the girls. Keesje is constantly afraid of being rejected and longs to maintain her position in the group.
While the team is training for the National Synchronized Swimming Competition, Keesje tries to hold her own within her group of friends. She allows herself to be dragged into the vicious behavior of Lize and Dunja, but gradually becomes alienated from herself. While Lize and Dunja are good with words, Keesje’s strength is physical. While the pressure for the competition increases, Keesje loses sight of who she is. She constantly fears she will loose what she has. Although she tries to suppress her frustrations, an outburst is the inevitable consequence.
The story behind Under the Skin
In high school I was in a group of 10 girls and there was a constant battle between us. We all did our hair the same way, all wore the same bag over our shoulder. I never really felt safe in this group. You knew that when you weren’t around they would gossip about you, just like you did about other girls when they weren’t around. It was a struggle and urge to belong to a group, at the expense of others. I became aware of this when watching famous American films, but in real-life this often happens in a very subtle devious way amongst girls. In this film, I wanted to show how this kind of bullying can metaphorically get under your skin.