Water Children

The miracle of fertility has always remained a miracle.  The filmmaker followed the trail of the unconventional Dutch-Japanese pianist Tomoko Mukaiyama who made a multi-media artwork on this theme.  She created a cathedral-like space out of thousands of white dresses in which visitors, as in a ritual, roamed around and fell silent, where people confessed intimate details about children who were or were not born, sexuality and choices made.  This led the filmmaker to the ritual of the ‘water children’ for premature babies, stillborns, babies that were never born.  In the film, the sound of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, magically and sensually interpreted by Tomoko Mukaiyama, subtly lifts the individual stories to the universal.  The pianist and the filmmaker kept silent for a long time about their own deeper motivations to want to make the film and the artwork.  Gradually, while making the artwork and the film, it becomes clear what drives them both, each from her own fate.

Credits picture from Tomoko behind the piano Shinji Otani
Photo used for the poster & DVDcover: Carla van de Putterlaar


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Aliona van der Horst

Dutch director Aliona van der Horst has directed four international award-winning documentaries.  She was born in Moscow, Russia, in 1970 and studied Russian literature at the University of Amsterdam and film at the Dutch Film and Television Academy. She began her career in 1997 with the much-acclaimed The Lady with the White Hat and since then has received multiple awards for most of her films, among them the Special Jury Prize at the Tribeca film festival for Voices of Bam (2006), and the Grand Prix of the FIFA Montreal for The Hermitage Dwellers (2004). Recently she has received the Jan Kassies award by the Dutch Cultural Broadcasting Fund, for outstanding achievement. For her latest documentary Boris Ryzhy (2008) she received the ‘Silver Wolf Award’ at the IDFA 2008, Best Documentary Award at Edinburgh Filmfestival 2009 , the Award of the Dutch Filmjournalists and the Special Jury Prize at the FIFA, Montréal.


Director: Aliona van der Horst
Camera and editing in cooperation with: Maasja Ooms
Sound: Rik Meier, Leo Erken, Fokke van Saane
Sound design & mix: Tom Bijnen
Music and installation: Tomoko Mukaiyama
Music by: J.S. Bach /Goldbergvariations
Executive producer: Jorinde Soree
In co-production with VPRO. With the support from Netherlands Filmfund, Mediafund, CoBO Fund.