RIFF Review: Meet The Fokkens
The Fokkens sisters, Louise and Martine, are identical twins from Amsterdam. They’ve also been prostitutes in the city’s Red Light district for over 50 years.
Meet The Fokkens, by Gabrielle Provaas and Rob Schröder, follows the two of them around as they attend to their daily lives. One of the sisters is recently retired so we get slightly different viewpoints. Roughly half of the film is simply showing them play out their routine while they provide color commentary, all manner of funny stories and non-sequiturs. The sisters are charming and hearing them describe things is quite entertaining. Telling any sort of story isn’t really the focus of the film and you’re given a nice snapshot of a specific niche of a world you might not be too familiar with.
Then the film switches gears to tell their life story up until this point. Here the movie stumbles into a rather deep valley following the opening peak. The sisters’ scatterbrained method of storytelling doesn’t work when trying to convey very specific information to the viewer. You end up getting lost and soon you’ll just stop caring. This drags the film down considerably and it never fully recovers to command your attention as it did at first, even though it returns to a similar narrative style for its closing segment.
The film strives for a sort of direct cinema style, with no one off camera ever addressing The Fokkens, instead allowing them to ramble on. It bears mentioning as well that it features straight up explicit sexual encounters involving one of the sisters. The scenes are rather hilarious, but old people having sex probably isn’t something you have on your bucket list.
Final Verdict: Meet The Fokkens is 60% of a fantastic documentary, worth seeing because of the unique insight it provides. Just be prepared to trudge through its middle third.
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