Maidentrip (First Run Features, NR)

dvd MaidentripYoung people are sometimes capable of far more than we give them credit for.



Laura Dekker seems destined to be a sailor. She was born on a boat while her parents were sailing around the world, and spent most of her first four years at sea. After her parents divorced, she elected to live in the Netherlands with her father, an avid sailor, and owned her first boat at age 6. At age 13, while living in the Netherlands, she announced her plans to sail solo around the world, a decision that attracted the attention of Dutch child protection authorities and opened a worldwide debate on the wisdom of allowing so young a sailor to undertake such a voyage.

On the one hand, you can hardly blame the officials. Thirteen-year-olds are not allowed to drive in most countries, and many American parents wouldn’t trust their kid to take a weekend bus trip on their own. On the other hand, Dekker is no average teenager, and she was not only highly qualified for the trip she wanted to undertake, but had the intellectual and emotional maturity to pull it off.

To avoid interference, Dekker’s father was on board when she departed from the Netherlands in 2010. The solo journey began from Gibraltar and ended 519 days and 27,000 nautical miles later, on Sint Maarten in the Caribbean. She was 14 when she began and 16 when she completed the trip, making her the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe.

Maidentrip is the record of Dekker’s voyage and around the world, and is primarily shot and narrated by Dekker herself (obviously, since she was the only one on the boat, and she was not accompanied by another boat). The footage is expertly edited by Penelope Falk, with music by Ben Sollee, and the result is a film that takes you not only around the world, but also in into the world of a young woman on an even greater voyage: into.

Animations help you keep track of where Dekker is at each stage of her journey (which was deliberately planned to allow her time to visit different countries and experience something of their culture, rather than aiming simply for the shortest and simplest route that would count as a circumnavigation). I normally hate films about self-invented stunts, but this film is much more about the experience of sailing than it is about setting any kind of a record.

Dekker did the cinematography on the trip itself, which was expertly edited by Penelope Falk, with Jillian Schlesinger credited as director. Maidentrip is a visually stunning film, but is equally endearing for the goofy moments when Dekker is showing off for the camera while flipping pancakes from two pans at once, or engaging in an impromptu dance for the camera. The result is a film that is both inspiring and down to earth; the only downside to viewing it is that you may be jealous that you haven’t had such adventures yourself. Of course, Maidentrip could equally well serve as inspiration to start planning your own adventure. It also makes an important point, which is that young people are sometimes capable of far more than we give them credit for.

Extras on the DVD include five extended scenes, two time lapse sequences, three collections of unused material (collectively called “behind the scenes”), and a photo gallery. | Sarah Boslaugh

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