Cancer Come, Cancer Go


“Our own unreality. We act our own lifes.
This is not a film, this is reality.
I’m 22 and my mother, dead?
Those couple of months..
I find myself crying on the floor, not able to stand up.
Jeroen sits down next to me and I nest my soaking wet face into his shirt.
I can’t bare to look at him.
Where is my mom? …
… Cancerous mess!”

In 2011 I finished became a Bachelor of Fine Arts by making a documentary about my mother and her battle against cancer.


My mothers uteral cancer forms the lower skinlayer of my documentary, but just in this work and around this in-your-face-desease I find how you place it in your life the most important in the formation of reality. That’s why there are seemingly staged elements that really show our automatically exposing inner reality, like the commercials she did for on one hand things like a cup of apple sauce and on the other hand things like enema’s. This irony and sarcastic humour at the same time makes you laugh and makes the factuallity strike harder.


So it’s not about the disease as much as it’s about how we place everything in our worlds with humour as the protective upper skinlayer. With my own visual language I also try to bring across the world through her eyes to the viewer, like the usage of blurred images next to extremely sharp ones, overlapping shots because of her dizziness, extremely speeded up images next to slow-motion, extra designed commercials, introducing important people and animals through letters, floating through the air and the way of cutting the material.



I’m looking for a form of absurdity in real life, you also see in the work of David Lynch; realities inside realities. And above all, the camera became an extension of my eyes, whereby you get extremely close to her like she truly is in my world. You see everything. That’s why it is so important that I – as her daughter – have filmed it all myself. If someone else would have done it, she would have played a part to keep them busy or entertain them.


In any case, I’m very selfish in my work: I only do what I want, what I feel like doing, I’ll just do that and in the core, it’s all about my world, but that translates more into a handwriting than that it withholds anyone from identifying with it.


Am I able to take a step back and look at it from an artists perspective? Well, now something reversed happens than what I’ve been writing about so far – that everyone creates his own reality – and that is that apparently everyone creates his own unreality as well. I’ve been looking through the camera the entire process and that turned real life into a film for us both in a way that a film usually turns into reality for a moment. We became the actors of our own lifes.


Art by Sanne van Renesse


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Ik kan het niet over mijn hart verkrijgen om op “like” te klikken. Wat een sterke vrouw jouw moeder.
    Eén van mijn beste vriendinnen gaat nu door dezelfde Kankerzooi. Er is zo’n acht maanden geleden borstkaker bij haar geconstateerd en de ziekenhuisbezoeken houden maar niet op. Ook als familie moet je sterk zijn…

  2. Gadverdamme, dat is inderdaad echt vreselijk. Je moet er echt met zijn allen doorheen en elkaar allemaal steunen. Wat heel belangrijk is, is dat je over zoveel mogelijk samen lacht en zoveel mogelijk grappen maakt over de situatie waar je toch echt niets aan kunt doen. Dat helpt om er samen doorheen te komen.

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