If Mama Ain't Happy, Nobody's Happy

  • Mea de Jong
  • Netherlands, The
  • 2014
  • 25 min
  • IDFA Competition for Student Documentary
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“If you want to make a film about independent women, shouldn’t you make one about our family?” The woman speaking is Laura, the mother of filmmaker Mea de Jong. Laura is a distinctive woman who has always run her own affairs, like her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother before her – forced or otherwise, because of men leaving and/or divorcing them. Who needs a man anyway? According to Laura, a relationship with a man is a temporary thing, but Mea has her doubts. And how likely is it that she herself will grow old with a husband, with such a mysterious, manless family tradition? De Jong puts her mother in front of the camera and speaks to her about their family history, the role of men in it and their mother-daughter relationship. Against the same black backdrop, some of Laura’s former boyfriends join in to talk about their relationships with her – including Mea's father, filmmaker Ate de Jong. Although the film starts off with Laura as the featured subject, Mea gets her fair share of issues thrown at her while behind the camera. Their combined portrait, by turns confrontational, emotional and comical, is complemented by a selection of photos and videos from the family collection.


  • 25 min
  • color / black and white
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Dutch
Mea de Jong
Chris Stenger for Nederlandse Film Academie, Juul Op den Kamp for Nederlandse Film Academie
Nina Badoux
Jose van Koppenhagen
Laura Solleveld
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IDFA history

IDFA Competition for Student Documentary

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IDFA history