A subversion of the Robinson Crusoe myth that wrecks our eurocentric island.
With Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe propagated his colonial ideology in the form of a ‘true’ adventure story.
His fairy tale was spread over the world and justified the repression and murder of millions of people. Three hundred years later, oblivious retellings and casual references are still commonplace — in popular culture as well as outside of the mainstream. It’s an indication that this British-European propaganda, about an Englishman shipwrecking on an (un)inhabited island and enslaving a local ‘cannibal,’ is still validated within our cultural ethos. Therefore, filmmaker Benjamin Deboosere chose to confront this story that enchanted him as a child but disquiets him as an adult.
The white colonizer is criticized without allowing him the stage; black actresses play the leading roles, mutineers and pirates are represented as the revolutionary exploited workers they historically were, trees get agency, not a dog but a rat becomes Crusoe’s best friend, cannibals don’t eat people but enormous vegetables, and instead of straw skirts they wear police uniforms. This experimental retelling playfully reveals the normative system within our (visual) culture. It achieves this by cinematic interferences in the folklore version of this tale where objectification and exploitation of our surroundings, the hierarchy between animals, appropriation of land, differences in class, patriarchy, paternalism, and suppression on the base of origin and color, are the norm. Using humor and confusion, and without losing its sense for adventure, the film delves into our unconscious. It penetrates the views and patterns that are burrowed into our behaviors and our minds. It makes representations visible, distorts and disturbs them, turns them around, and lets them crumble. Hence, it calls for a rewriting of ourselves (‘ourselves’ meaning every person that feels addressed).
Genre: Political adventurefilm
Taal: Dutch, Dutch sign language & French
Production: Untitled Production & Hilife Cinematography
Script & Direction: Benjamin Deboosere
Director of Photography: Hans Bruch Jr. SBC
Locations: Greece, Belgium, The Netherlands
Supported by VAF Filmlab
National release: Summer 2022