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Mercedes Stalenhoef

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Discovered playing piano in her parents' Turkish restaurant, Karsu Dönmez is the Dutch Norah Jones. Karsu is a subtle and rhythmically edited coming-of-age film about this singer. For three years, director Mercedes Stalenhoef follows Karsu as she climbs the ladder from the restaurant to the stage of Carnegie Hall, and further into the music world. Karsu may be young, but this effervescent girl knows that she wants to be a famous performing artist. Life in the Dönmez household, however, goes on pretty much as before. Karsu has to finish school first, and she should play it safe with her career. We watch as Karsu goes about her daily life in Amsterdam and spends the summer vacation with family in Turkey. It's no coincidence that the name of the village is also Karsu, which means "black water." In passing, we also hear about her parents' history as migrants. These lively scenes are intercut with Karsu's reflections about music. "I've always loved that sense of drama," she explains. Her parents carefully guide their daughter in her career - sometimes too carefully, in Karsu's opinion. But more than anything, the look in their eyes conveys a great sense of pride. "When she plays the piano, I float," says Mr. Dönmez.
(IDFA 2012)


Netherlands, The 2012, 87 min.


Spoken language: Dutch, Turkish

Official website:


Pieter van Huystee Film

+31 204210606

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children and youth
migrants, aliens & forced migration
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