A totalitarian new world is evoked in Digna Sinke's airless dystopian reverie, "Atlantis."

A totalitarian new world is evoked in Digna Sinke’s airless dystopian reverie, “Atlantis.” Unable to contribute anything new to a genre as old as the lost continent itself, Sinke borrows from Huxley and Orwell while reducing everything to a more intimate scale, following a young woman who gradually rebels against the state’s mind control. Unfortunately there’s a block of ice instead of an emotional core, and the helmer neither conveys the future impossible nor the past imperfect. Fantasy fests may take a peek, but bring a sweater.

Sometime in the future, the past is banned and “optimism is a moral duty.” Xenia (newcomer Pitou Nicolaes), 14, has unsettling dreams which she shares with her brother Arnout (Yorinn Kootstra), a youth who has delved into forbidden recent history. When an old man near a prohibited zone asks Xenia to deliver a letter to Agnes (Annemarie Prins) on the Island, the teen risks the illegal journey, meeting the woman who represents individuality and a repository of memories. Sinke, whose last fiction feature was 1993′s “Belle van Zuylen,” gets the featureless functionality right, but her tediously elliptical script is as flat as the landscape.

Atlantis

Netherlands-Belgium

Production

A Waterland Film (Netherlands)/Man's Film (Belgium)/Boeddhistische Omroep Stichting (Netherlands) production. (International sales: Waterland Film, Amsterdam.) Produced by Wilant Boekelman, Jan van der Zanden. Directed, written by Digna Sinke.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Richard van Oosterhout; editor, Michiel Reichwein; music, Paul M. van Brugge; production designer, Vincent de Pater; costume designer, Margriet Procee. Reviewed at San Sebastian Film Festival (Zabaltegi), Sept. 19, 2008. Dutch dialogue. Running time: 80 MIN.

With

Pitou Nicolaes, Annemarie Prins, Yorinn Kootstra, Ria Marks.
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