On 21 February it is International Mother Language Day, an initiative of the United Nations. The Europeesk Buro foar Lytse Talen (EBLT) and the Mercator European Research Centre, together with Slieker Film, are organising the Dutch premiere of the successful German film Mittagsstunde by director Lars Jessen (trailer) in Leeuwarden. The film is based on the bestseller of the same title by writer Dörte Hansen. Two versions of the film were made: one with dialogues in Low German (Plautdietsch), and one with dialogues in High German. In Leeuwarden, the Low German version will be presented, with subtitles in Frisian.
Mittagsstunde ("noon hour") follows university lecturer Ingwer (47) from Kiel, who takes a sabbatical because his parents Sönke and Ella in the North Frisian countryside can no longer manage themselves. Father is frail but trying to hold out behind the walker as a pub landlord and mother is increasingly lost. Ingwer soon finds out that not only his parents have changed, but also the village of Brinkebüll. The school and shop are closed and the chestnut trees in the neighbourhood have to give way to the big lorries and farm machinery. Not much is left of the community
The somewhat melancholic film Mittagsstunde is about Ingwer's special family history and the - also for Fryslân - very recognisable changes in the countryside and what they do to people. What still binds rural people when everything disappears?
Both book and film rapidly conquered the German language area. The film was the best-attended cinema film in Germany in the winter of 2022/2023. The German media praised it, calling it "a North German gem" and the film was praised as humorous, wistful and sensitive. Mittagsstunde had not previously been shown in a Dutch cinema or film house. EBLT, Mercator and Slieker Film are changing that and presenting the film under the Frisian title Middeisoere. The premiere will be a multilingual screening. Besides German, the film features a lot of Low German (Plattdietsch), a language related to Lower Saxon, in particular. The film is provided with subtitles in Frisian by Geertrui Visser.
International Mother Language Day
It is already the tenth time that the EBLT, Mercator European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning (part of the Fryske Akademy) and Slieker Film are presenting documentaries or films about and featuring language minorities on International Mother Language Day. The EBLT is an umbrella body dedicated to the promotion and protection of minority languages in the Netherlands. More than 20 organisations are affiliated to the EBLT that work for the position of Frisian, Low Saxon, Bildts and Papiamentu.
The film can be seen on International Mother Language Day, Wednesday 21 February, at Slieker Film, in Leeuwarden at 19:30. The film will be repeated again on Saturday 24 February at 13:30. Tickets are on sale via Slieker Film.