Nervous Translation (2017)

  |  Drama

Nervous Translation (2017) Poster

Eight year-old Yael, shy to a fault, lives in her own private world. One day she finds out about a pen that can "translate" the thoughts and feelings of nervous people.


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7 February 2018 | JvH48
| Completely incomprehensible
Saw this at the Rotterdam Film Festival 2018 (website: In two words: Completely incomprehensible. Though subsequent scenes were trying to tell sort of a story by themselves and thus were self-contained and somewhat watchable, the overarching logic completely went past me. If it were not that I had to attend the next movie in the same venue, I would have walked out prematurely. This movie was selected for the Hivos Tiger Award competition, the flag ship of the IFFR festival, hence arising expectations, yet I cannot imagine what was special or interesting about this movie.

It may be "cute" to make an 8-year old girl the main protagonist, and many will deem that an achievement in itself, but it does not work on me at all. I cannot avoid a comparison with the film Jimmie I saw yesterday, at the IFFR opening event, with a 4-year old boy as main character. In the latter case it was fully functional, carrying the core of the message how a 4-year-old experiences being dragged through a series of hostile environments (sea, borders, etc), hence it meant something there and fitting the context.

Back to the movie Nervous Translation: It is a proven fact that I'm not alone in this negative appreciation, as it received a lowly 170th place (out of 187) for the audience award.

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Plot Summary




Release Date:

5 April 2019


Filipino, Tagalog

Country of Origin


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