Illustrating the adage that things will get better with time, Dutch chamber drama “Stages” charts the effect of divorce on an egotistical fortyish couple and their withdrawn 17-year-old son. Shot and constructed in a highly stylized manner, but with realistic, semi-improvised perfs, the pic is not as emotionally engaging as helmer Mijke de Jong’s previous effort, coming-of-ager “Bluebird.” Other fest outings may be in the offing, but the best platform will be broadcast.
Roos (Elsie de Brauw) and Martin (Marcel Musters) are divorced, but not yet detached. They hold recriminatory conversations at noisy restaurants, each claustrophobically shot in extreme close-up with the camera remaining on only one person. A series of meals (with them together or with colleagues) alternates with scenes of their nearly silent son (Stijn Koomen) in his locked room, polishing a samurai sword or breaking into other people’s homes. Throughout, meaning is derived as much from glances and gestures as dialogue. By the time the camera pulls back to indicate this difficult phase of life has passed, auds feel palpable relief. Tech credits and perfs are polished.