23 May 2020

Iep! The girl with wings and her yearning for freedom

IEP! (2010) the movie, is an adaptation of a novel called “EEP!” written by a Dutch writer Johanna Rutgera 'Joke' van Leeuwen. It is a story of a Viegeltje (Iep)—a girl with wings-- the role played by a Canadian seven-year-old actress Kenadie Jourdin (born on 13 February 2003), who suffers from primordial dwarfism and hasn't grown taller than 76 centimetres.


One day Iep is found by Warre (Huub Stapel) and Tine (Joke Tjalsma) - a childless couple, who live in the countryside and take pity on a peculiar creature with wings. Warre an ardent bird-watcher, thinks she is a bird. Tine thinks she is a girl. The child's bird-like inclinations astonishes the woman, but not Warre. He always warns Tine that she is a bird and cannot stay with humans, which Tine denies. She believes that she can raise the child as her daughter.



One day when ‘Iep’ gets an opportunity, she flies to join the migrant birds flying South. She tries to join the flock, but they consider her an ‘outcast’. Unfortunately, they were not ready to accept her. Back home, Tine is devastated and embarks with Warre, her husband, on a thrilling and adventurous journey to find their lost daughter. During this journey the couple meet a girl named Loetje (Madelief Vermeulen) and a rescuer (Diederik Ebbinge). In the end they find their daughter.




In the climax of the movie is the acceptance of reality. Out in the open countryside on top of a hill, Tine spreads her arms and gives her daughter ‘Iep’ her freedom. Together with the other birds she flies to the South.


The movie brings forth surrealist elements that often leave audiences an expression of desire, the desire to freedom. Iep and Loetje’s unexpected meeting at her lonely room highlights the human instinct to fly like birds. It depicts the quest in all of us to give wings to our inner feelings and expressions.


In one instance when Tine takes Iep to a restaurant, where she sees a cage with two birds in it. Iep sees them and yearns for freedom. Iep urges to flap her wings and fly. Tine takes her to the restroom so that she could be free for some time, but keeps the ventilation of the restroom open. While Tine waits outside, Iep gets an opportunity to fly high like other free birds. Iep is not portrayed as a creature but as a relation between a creature and a human and this fulfils the relationship as a whole.


Rita Horst, is the director of the movie and Mieke de Jong has written the screenplay for the film. EEP! is a Dutch-Belgian co-production of Lemming Film in collaboration with ‘A Private View’ and Dutch broadcaster NPS. Independent Films handles theatrical distribution in the Netherlands. The movie EEP! had won the Golden Film Award - an initiative presented by the Netherlands Film Festival and the Netherlands Film Fund.