Evelien is a 53-year-old Dutch woman confined to a wheelchair due to spastic scoliosis. She was born premature and the hospital authorities advised her parents not to name her as she would not live long. It became a theme for her life that she shouldn’t exist. She retreated to a state of unhappiness which was so prevalent it actually offered her comfort to retreat to that world.
Act 53 she realizes that she has never had sex and being told by someone that you are not whole and a person until you have sex she presses ahead with her plan. She contacts DUZ a sex agency that specializes in a clientele of disabled people. They are extremely professional and empathetic at DUZ starting with an intake interview where possible matches for Evelien are discussed. She then choses Thomas a 67-year-old man who is full of charm with an uncanny ability to set Evelien’s mind at rest. The client has complete power to sop at any time if they are uncomfortable. Evelien also consults with clients of Thomas. She is ready to go! She discovers her sexuality and asks what am I to do with it!
I found a key part of the film was the unconditional love and acceptance of Tori her dog and the horse she grooms. If only humans could be so accepting. I digress a bit here and say I had a friend at work who was diagnosed with ALS a fatal muscular disease. When that diagnosis was made public most people shied away from the man. Several of us made it a point of not fading away from him. I made myself a promise to go on a monthly lunch with him until even life in a wheelchair was impossible. At our first lunch I was really uncomfortable in interacting with a condemned man. But that unease faded rapidly. Were people equally abandoning Evelien?
A story of determination, courage, self doubts, nervous humour and the power of sexual healing. It seems Marvin Gaye’s song of that title finally makes sense.
Perhaps it is time for all of us not to take intimacy for granted.
The documentary is part of Hot Docs Documentary Festival 2022 and plays in theatre 5May and may be streamed as of May 2 for 5 days.
You can see the trailer here https://vimeo.com/693464778
Directed and written by Elsbeth Fraanje. In Dutch with English subtitles.
RKS Film Rating 91/100.