Appearing in a documentary can have some serious consequences, and Tom and his mother Francis learned this the hard way. Rawer begins with alternating excerpts from its predecessor Raw (2008) and the popular Dutch talk show De wereld draait door (a double entendre meaning "the world keeps turning" or "the world goes crazy"). Francis is convinced that cooked food is unhealthy, and we watch as she is accused of extremism and child abuse. She has been feeding Tom a raw diet since he was five (dairy, fish, meat and eggs are also off limits), and he isn't growing at the rate he should. Francis says this is because he isn't consuming the growth hormones in meat and dairy products, but when she agrees to a complete exam of Tom's health, her goose is cooked. We watch as mother and son become increasingly entangled in the net of Youth Services and the juvenile court magistrate. Permission was granted for the various hearings to be filmed, and doctors and child welfare workers explain where they stand, as does Francis. Meanwhile, Tom is 14 but he still stands by his mother, even when she decides to withdraw from the system altogether and home-school him. His behavior can be interpreted in a number of ways, just like the film itself, which shines a light on various angles of the case without taking a side.
Simone van den Broek for Basaltfilm
Stichting Picos de Europa
Suzan van Steenwijk