In a daring role portraying the darkly infamous poet Ingrid Jonker from South Africa, Dutch actress Carice Van Houten nailed it in the eyes of the Tribeca Film Festival jury. The jury commented, “There are a million colors in this complicated performance. We award this honor for bravery and fragility, and for showing tremendous range and strength throughout”. There are a lot of words in that comment that many actors hope to hear after diving into a character as rich and dark as Ingrid Jonker, the troubled poet known for her great work, but for many people more well-known for killing herself by drowning in the ocean. In Paula van der Oest’s Black Butterflies, Van Houten found her character with strength worthy of the award for Best Actress in a Narrative Feature Film.
Born in the Netherlands, Van Houten had an affinity for American silent comedies that included greats like Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy, so it’s a wonder how she ended up in such a dark and dramatic role. She even played a part in a parody of City Lights. She has an extensive background in straight theater and even musicals, no doubt spawned from her early days as a musician playing the clarinet. She is most well-known for her role as Suzy in Suzy Q, a popular a critically acclaimed film directed by Martin Koolhaven, and they’ve continued to collaborate over the past decade. Let’s hope Black Butterflies finds fair distribution so many people have a chance to see Carice Van Houten’s wonderful performance.
Written by Chris Loud