A familiar tale of psychological wounds probed and healed during a road trip feels fresh in writer-helmer-co-star Jan-Willem van Ewijk’s debut feature, “Nu.” Shot nearly four years ago, with an editing process prolonged by its maker’s inexperience, day-jobbing and other concerns, pic nonetheless emerges with a spontaneous feel that balances humor and poignancy in deft, understated strokes. Modest dimensions and vid lensing make this tale of two brothers on a mission from Holland to France an unlikely export beyond fests, but it’s a cinch van Ewijk’s next project will travel a faster track.
Casting himself in the less sympathetic of two lead roles, the helmer plays JP, a corporate deal-maker who keeps steady girlfriends in Amsterdam and London. Despite incessant meetings and calls, he takes time off for longtime best friend Jaap (Matthjis Bourdrez), whose pregnant French spouse is in a coma. After Jaap attempts suicide, JP decides his friend needs to visit the physically inert Rose (whose thoughts we hear in voiceover). Warm rapport between performers, a nice eye for revealing details and graceful packaging (compromised only by soft vid definition on the bigscreen) make this a small gem.