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Rixt van 't Oerd

Rixt van 't Oerd (2022) is a film by Elysa-James Kooijman.

The artist gives the Amelander folktale character witch Rixt van ’t Oerd a new voice through reflecting on their relationship to the island of Ameland, the role of mother figures and what it means to love and hate.

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"When I arrive at the island it does not make me feel welcome. It doesn't try. It's unapologetic in its being. I feel anxious because I know I am not." Rixt van 't Oerd is a film that treads the line between fiction and documentary; an ode to my feelings, her feelings, and the beauty of the island.

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This story is about a woman.
 Her name is Rixt. She lives a secluded life on the beach and the dunes of the unmanned east part of the Wadden island Ameland, called ’t Oerd. She has to live off of what the land and the sea offer her; she fishes, catches birds and rabbits, and she picks berries. In turn she takes care of the land like any other person deeply connected to the island; she helps the young dunes find their footing, and makes sure the grass and the young birds have a chance to grow. 
Her deep connection to the island grants her a power; the ability to control the seas and the weather. Whenever needed, she can conjure up a storm, which makes the ships at sea violently crash on the waves and wash up onto shore, broken. Whatever the sea carries onto the beach, she uses to survive. 
No man has ever survived her storms. 

One day she births a son, Sjoerd, who is the only person that she loves, and he loves her back. She decides he is hers, and hers alone. Even though her love for him runs as deep as the seas and the black of night, she doesn’t tell him about her power; afraid he might judge and leave her. For years they live in peace, revolving around each other like the earth and the moon. 

Bu as Sjoerd grows older, he gets more and more restless. Unable to appreciate the deep connection to the island, he wants to leave. And one day, unbeknownst to Rixt, he does. Still ignorant and blind to his mother’s powers, he joins a ship as a sailor. That evening, Rixt conjures up storm. 

The next morning, when she goes out on to the beach to see what has washed up, she finds her deepest fear has come true. Her son, whom she loved with her whole heart and the depth of her soul, drowned. Her past shattered before her very eyes, her present infinite and heavy like a black hole, and her future ungraspable and forever faint, she cries out his name: SJOEEEEEEEEEEERD. This is a cry that would have ripped through every person’s soul who would have been able to hear it directly, and in a way it did. It pierced the very fabric of time and space, into herself and the very heart of the island.
Some say that if you listen carefully to the wind on Ameland, you can still hear her.

https://www.elysajames.com/rixt

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