Antonia's Line is an enchanting feminist fairy tale that won an Academy Award as the Best Foreign Language Film in 1996. This Dutch film opens on the last day of Antonia's (Willke van Ammelrooy) life. As she looks around her house and farm, she recalls the time shortly after World War II when she returned with her daughter Danielle to the farm and village she had left as a girl. With great authority and generosity, she befriends a recluse, takes in the village simpleton, and provides a home for a retarded young woman who has been raped by a brother.
Danielle grows up to be a painter and decides to have a baby while remaining single. Years later she falls in love with her daughter Therese's female tutor who comes to live at the farm. Meanwhile, Antonia sets up a love nest with Farmer Bas who once proposed to her. Little Therese turns out to be a child prodigy in mathematics. She takes quite a fancy to Crooked Finger, a reclusive philosopher.
When Deedee's brother rapes Therese, Antonia takes a courageous stand against him. Even though she's enraged, she refuses to give in to her feelings of violence. Years later Therese finds a suitable husband who's more maternal than she is and gives birth to Sophia. Antonia keeps adding new members to her extended family including a priest who leaves the church, and Letta, the woman who convinced her brother to impregnate Danielle without marrying her.
When it finally comes time for Antonia to die, she is surrounded by her family and friends. Her passing is done with dignity, serenity, and beauty.
Writer and director Marleen Gorris has fashioned a wonderfully eccentric film about the high value of feminine friendship, independence, intuition, and solidarity. Best of all, Antonia is a great role model to the women in the community with her spiritual practice of hospitality.