Lydia Blijft

Eline Helena Schellekens

Lydia's mother is from Cameroon, her father from Nigeria, but she and her brother were born in the Netherlands. None of them have a Dutch residence permit, and that's a concern for Lydia. What if her parents have to go back to their home countries? Who will she have to go with? While her father prepares the food, Lydia asks him whether he's scared. Of course he is, he admits, "But I'm not going anywhere. This is my country." That's exactly the way Lydia thinks, too. Most of the scenes from their domestic life radiate a sense of cheerfulness, positivity and strength. After they've moved for the seventh time, to make sure no one finds out they are undocumented, Lydia is sick and tired of it. She doesn't want to have to make new friends again, but it's not long before her mother has managed to put a smile back on her face. And as it turns out, it's not long before she has managed to find a new classmate to play with. Lydia is remarkably unreserved in front of the camera. She tells her story partly in the expressive and moving songs that she made in improvisation sessions with musician Sean de Vries. She sings in Dutch, providing her own accompaniment on harmonica – although her dance steps and rhythms betray her African heritage.


Eline Helena Schellekens
Jan-Willem Bult, Doreth Matheeuwsen
Country of production
Netherlands, The
17 minutes
Spoken language
Dutch, English
Production company
Kro Jeugd