Ajouad El Miloudi wants in #Ajouad see if it is true what is said about the financial center of the Netherlands, the Zuidas in Amsterdam. work hard play hard, pinch suits, pinch of cocaine. The people who guide him into the closed stronghold are not merger and acquisition lawyers, chartered accountants or bankers, but above all outsiders. Oscar Westra van Holthe, systemic coach, who has his office in one of the skyscrapers, is an old acquaintance, I also saw him in Sander and the gap tell how ‘inhumane and environmentally unfriendly’ is the place where he once started earning money. Arno Wellens, former banker, also likes to emphasize the „dark sideof the Zuidas.
A recruiter receives Ajouad at home, in his SUV, and at the office where employees sound the gong when they successfully place personnel at a company. At the end of the week, the 10K’s and 20K’s plus corresponding bonuses for the staff roll over the table and then it’s time to fill up the shots in the pub. We kind of had that image in mind, yes.
He also accompanies a partner of one of the largest international law firms – if the cardboard coffee cup on the desk doesn’t lie, it’s Stibbe. Valérie starts early and goes home a little earlier than her colleagues, because she has children. She eats with her family, puts her daughters to bed, and then spends two more hours at home behind the computer. “Good for your career,” Ajouad assumes. “Good for my job,” she says. Ajouad wants to hear from her that she “always puts her children first” and how that came about. I thought crazy. Valérie is, say, a working parent.
And then, then I saw a fairy tale. Really, all the elements were in it: a mysterious, misty mountain landscape, a poverty-stricken existence, animals, parents who want to sell their children, an old folk tradition, an inescapable marriage, and an almost-adult girl who resists her fate. The documentary Children of the fog oozes mischief from beginning to end. For three years, director Diem Ha Le followed the North Vietnamese girl Di. Beautiful child, hard worker on the land, good student at school, cheeky daughter. She is eleven when she reenacts the ancient custom of her people, the Hmong, in the rocky mountains with her friends. Around the New Year, young men are allowed to kidnap a girl and make her a bride. So it was with Di’s sister La chess at fourteen, pregnant with her second child at seventeen.
Di’s family lives in a remote mountain village in a wooden house with a mud floor and a corrugated iron roof. They work the land. Rice, indigo, vegetables. They keep buffaloes, pigs and chickens and roast them over a fire indoors. Father and mother took turns drinking home-brewed wine from plastic bottles. Archaic yes, but certainly not retarded. Because there are also telephones, there is the internet, Facebook.
It’s still a game for Di when she flirts with a boy online, his name is Vang (!). She’s 14.5 and damn, he’s waiting for her with his motorcycle on New Year’s Eve and she’s going home with him. The next day, his parents are at her doorstep. With bottles of liquor and whether the dowry can be negotiated. The parents think their daughter is on the young side, but they think they are rich. They thought of two $2,000 and $300 envelopes, ten pounds of chicken and one hundred pounds of pork, and twenty gallons of wine.
One problem: Di doesn’t want to get married. And then it gets very grim. The in-laws drag the loot out of her parental home by arms and legs, her mother watches, arms folded, the filmmaker even throws herself in between. It ends more or less well, all well. See for yourself how it ends.