Dearest Fiona

In the collection of the Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam, Fiona Tan researched silent, documentary archive material dating from before the 1920s. The material she found there depicts everyday life and, above all, the hard work only slowly being made easier by machines. Dutch women in traditional costume, winter scenes, harvest labour, fishing, land reclamation, trade and harbour work. Tan, who is of Indonesian descent, came to Amsterdam from Australia to study in 1988. During this period, Tan’s father sent her letters in which he vividly reflects on private affairs, the family dog, his grandson, global politics and the competition between economic systems. The combination of these letters read out in voice-over with the archive material from a completely different time is perplexing at first. The images do not serve to illustrate or validate what is being spoken. What emerges instead is a kind of audiovisual stream of consciousness – heightened by the artful soundtrack – that is open to associations, coincidences and the discovery of subtle connections: between image and sound, then and now, the Netherlands and Indonesia, trade and colonialism, father and daughter.
by Fiona Tan Netherlands 2023 English 100’ Colour & Black/White World premiere


Director Fiona Tan
Screenplay Fiona Tan
Editing Nathalie Alonso Casale
Sound Design Hugo Dijkstal
Sound Hugo Dijkstal
Voice-Over Ian Henderson
Production Manager Marty de Jong
Producer Fiona Tan

Produced by

Antithesis Films

Fiona Tan

Born in 1966 in Pekanbaru, Indonesia, she studied visual arts and now works as an artist and filmmaker in the Netherlands. Her work has been presented at numerous solo exhibitions around the world. Many of her works are also represented in public art collections. Following History’s Future (2015), which was screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and Ascent (2016), which premiered at Locarno, Dearest Fiona is her third feature-length film.


1997 May You Live in Interesting Times; 60 min. 2000 Kingdom of Shadows; 50 min. 2015 History’s Future; 95 min. 2016 Ascent; 80 min. 2023 Dearest Fiona; 100 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2023