First show: August 14
The stark, stylish bildungsroman follows Ayoub (Ayoub Elasri), a Dutch-Moroccan teen in the projects of Amsterdam. Ayoub takes care of his estranged junkie dad and tries to be the “man of the house” for his mom and half-sister, all the while lusting after Laura (Sigrid ten Napel), the beautiful girl dating the bad guy. Determined to impress her, Ayoub falls in with a decked-out and coked-out “businessman” who provides him the duds and cash he covets. But de Jong is aware of the tropes he’s playing with: Soon Ayoub is forced to confront ideals of masculinity and status, leading to a finale that is as surprising as it is hopeful.
As with Kids and other movies of the genre, Prince employs non-professional actors to portray life in the streets of contemporary Amsterdam. The 80s-style soundtrack also conjures up classic coming-of-age stories like Heathers and The Breakfast Club, but the anachronism of the music speaks to the rest of the film’s style, which takes its cues from what’s hip today—street style, high-waisted fashion, 90s throwbacks—more than from, say, John Hughes. The film utilizes a muted and spaced-out vibe, setting a shiny purple Lamborghini and glittering platform shoes against a bare urban landscape.
De Jong conveys the pervasiveness of gender roles and the nature of friendship with quick, sharp dialogue. When Ayoub and his friends are checking themselves out in the mirror while talking about girls, one says to another: “You’re a real pervert.” He shrugs it off: “I’m just chivalrous.” Prince gives us a glimpse into what royalty looks like in Amsterdam’s poor neighborhoods and just how dangerous these codes of courtly conduct can be.
Written and Directed by acclaimed Dutch music video director Sam de Jong. 78 min.
PRINCE: Upcoming Showtimes