Not available for screening anymore

  1. Extra


    Directed by

    Netherlands, Spain


    80 min

    • Dutch


    From the director of ZURICH presented at Berlinale Co-Production Market

    Hemel changes her sexual partners at an even quicker pace than her father Gijs changes his girlfriends. Since the death of the mother, the father and daughter have had an unusually close, at times even overly intimate relationship which tolerates no real commitment in their respective affairs. When Gijs dumps his girlfriend Emma at a party, Hemel’s “secret” triumph is written all over her face. She is thus all the more shaken when her father falls in love with Sophie for real, who Hemel snidely refers to as “her new mother” and who is now to move in with them. Tinged with empathy and sadness, HEMEL takes a painfully precise look at the life of a troubled young woman who uses her sexuality to provoke in a scathingly aggressive manner but ends up doing the most damage to herself. Dutch director Sacha Polak’s debut film plays with the associations that arise from its protagonist’s name. The sky is not always blue in this film, whose carefully considered colour scheme registers the subtle changes in this vulnerable human being’s existence. Cloudy to overcast with occasional sunny periods, frequent thunderous showers.


    • Grand Prix - Films de Femmes IFF
    • FIPRESCI Prize, Berlinale
    • Best Actress (for Hannah Hoekstra) - VOICES IFF
    • Ecumenical Jury prize - Molodist Kyiv IFF


    Hannah Hoekstra
    Hans Dagelet
    Rifka Lodeizen
    Helena van der Meulen
    Daniël Bouquet
    Axel Skovdal Roelofs
    Rutger Reinders

    Director's Statement

    HEMEL represents our present time, where young adults have everything but they cannot decide on which life they want to lead. Hemel feels 'in between', taking a year off. She uses men to define herself. She is busy testing her powers, hoping to find out who she is. In the end of the film she discovers her true needs.



    Beautifully lensed look at the moment just before a daughter has to let go of her father should travel extensively and turn Polak into a name to watch.


    Sacha Polak

    Sacha Polak


    Sacha Polak graduated in 2006 from The Netherlands Film and Television Academy with her short film Teer, which was selected for a number of international film festivals. After TEER came the short films EL MOURABI (2007), DRANG (2008) and UNDER THE TABLE (2008). In 2009, Sacha took part in the Directors’ Lab at the Binger Filmlab. Her short film BROTHER (2012) was selected for Berlinale Generation 14+. In the same year, her feature film HEMEL was selected for the Berlinale Forum and won the FIPRESCI award. In 2013, the feature documentary NEW BOOBS was released, telling Sacha’s personal story. Besides this, Sacha took part in the Berlinale Residency to develop her new feature film ZURICH, which will be released in February 2015.

    Selected Filmography