HOW TO SURVIVE MYSELF?

HOE OVERLEEF IK MEZELF?

By Nicole Van Kilsdonk

BOSBROS - as PROD

Children's - Completed 2008

Thirteen-year old Rosa moves to Groningen. Will she survive the struggle with her new step-dad, her insecurity, and her alter ego Rooz?

    • Year of production
    • 2008
    • Genres
    • Children's
    • Countries
    • NETHERLANDS
    • Languages
    • DUTCH
    • Director(s)
    • Nicole Van Kilsdonk
    • Writer(s)
    • Tamara BOS
    • Producer(s)
    • Burny BOS (Bosbros), Sabine VEENENDAAL (Bosbros), Michiel DE ROOIJ (Bosbros)
    • Synopsis
    • Rosa van Dijk is a sensitive thirteen-year-old girl with a vivid imagination. She has a talent for drawing, likes to chat a lot with her friends on MSN and has a good sense of humour. Despite all this, Rosa, like most thirteen-year-old girls, is insecure and doesn’t like the way she looks.
      Since her parents’ divorce, Rosa has lived with her mother in Den Bosch, a city in the south of the Netherlands. After Rosa’s baby brother Abeltje is born (who is now 8 months old), her mother decides to move in with her new boyfriend Alexander (Abeltje’s father), who lives in Groningen, in the northern part of the country. And Rosa of course has to move with her. Rosa loves her little stepbrother Abeltje to bits but does not particularly like her stepfather, who she secretly calls Alexander the Great Ape. The worst thing about it is that she has to leave behind everything she loves in Den Bosch. How will she survive all this?
      Rosa has a hard time adjusting to her new situation. She finds it difficult to make friends at her new school. Fortunately, there’s her friend Esther, who she can chat with on MSN, and her IB (Internet Boyfriend) Jonas, who she talks to over the webcam.
      In her mind, Rosa creates a cooler version of herself, Rooz. When Rosa wants to be different from her usual self, Rooz is the one who can do it. Encouraged by Rooz, Rosa starts to display increasingly extreme behaviour. But the changes in her appearance don’t have much effect. They only bring her closer to her classmate Karien, who talks her into stealing clothes. Her art teacher Sam Meyer is the only one who is genuinely nice to Rosa.
      When, at her mother’s insistence, Rosa’s father comes to pick her up for the weekend, Rosa is very happy to see him. At the same time she is mad at him, because he agreed to her move to Groningen and never spends any time with her. For a while things are perfect, just as it was before, until, in Rosa’s perception, Esther starts preaching about losing weight and dieting. In the train back to Groningen, Rosa feels that no one understands her and she’s all alone. Through the window, she sees the graffiti tags along the train line. She gets the impression that they are trying to tell her something about life and she becomes increasingly intrigued by them.
      Back at home, Rosa sketches some graffiti pieces of her own. She shows them to her art teacher, who used to be a graffiti artist. He gives her some old spray cans and tells her a few things about graffiti. During a high-adrenalin graffiti action along the railway track, fellow sprayer Neuz (16) catches her painting over his work.
      The more Rooz Rosa becomes, the more she drifts away from the people around her. She clings to her so-called friend Karien, who encourages Rosa to dye her hair purple. Her mother and Alexander get angry at her, but Rosa doesn’t care. The children in her class make fun of her and Karien drops her like a hot potato. In a fit of desperation, Rosa reacts to a provocation by one of her classmates by pushing the girl against a radiator, causing a head injury. Rosa is sharply reprimanded by the deputy headmaster. Alexander is unsure how to respond and punishes Rosa by taking her computer from her. Now she is literally cut off from her friends. She turns to Meyer for support. Rosa confuses his fatherly behaviour with her own amorous feelings and tries to kiss him. When Meyer does not respond to her advances and Rosa discovers he is gay and living with his boyfriend, she is devastated.
      Desperate, Rosa wanders through the streets. She doesn’t want to go home and lets Neuz talk her into a nightly graffiti expedition. She feels confused about the situation and her feelings. Just yesterday she was in love with Mr. Meyer, and now? Rosa enjoys every minute of her adventure with Neuz, until they get caught by the police. They are locked up in a cell together. Neuz puts her at ease in such a way that Rosa blurts out all her grief and problems. He is sweet and understanding. When Neuz is taken from the cell first, Rosa is left on her own. Strengthened by Neuz’ positive attitude, she decides to confront Rooz and therefore herself.
      Rosa's hours in the police cell brings about a catharsis for both Rosa and her mother. For the first time in ages, they really communicate and listen to each other.
      Full of confidence, Rosa decides that she doesn’t need Rooz anymore and she says goodbye to her alter ego. She has survived everything and most of all herself. She doesn’t feel the need to change anymore. Rosa is perfect as she is. Behind the shed, she yields to her first real kiss, with Neuz! And Esther’s tips for French kissing turn out to be very useful!
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