Followed film courses at the Amsterdam Film Academy. Made about 70 documentaries for the Dutch world broadcast. His first feature film was ZWARTZIEK ('73), the second SCRIM ('76) and the third TIRO ('79).
TIRO, a film about duck hunting in the Biesbosch, about the urbanisation of a nature reserve and a boy "on the brink of adulthood", is, like Jacob Bijl's previous films, about relationships. In this case about the - almost erotic - relationship of the main character with his sister. Through her, he is brought into contact with reality, the world of hustling and bustling, with what Bijl describes as "honorable opportunism". The boy resists this and eventually makes a - fatal - choice.
Jacob Bijl is interested in what he calls relationships. The relationship between a man and a woman in his first short film ZWARTZIEK; between two women in the English-language feature SCRIM, with which he had great success in Paris. His new feature TlRO is about the relationship between a father and his son. The son, a nineteen-year-old boy, feels misunderstood. The story of the film is based on the dramatic fact that the water area, where ducks are traditionally hunted, will be drained. The boy opposes this, because he loves the area, and is in conflict with his father, who, as a doctor in a village, allows himself to be bribed by a manufacturer. While Bijl in his previous films limited the location to one room, in TIRO he has widened the scope: the story takes place in a polder landscape and water area with several (intermediate) persons such as a mother, sister, grandfather, maid and other inhabitants of the village.
This is how Paulien Terreehorst in "Skrien" and Sandra Van Beek in "Skoop" situate the fact of TIRO: who is right? TIRO is first and foremost a film about relationships. "I think relationships are the only important thing. If you consider how much time you put into relationships, whether it's with your parents or your girlfriend, your wife, your boyfriend, who you live with or who you don't live with, then you notice that you put a whole chunk of your life into them. And what amazes me is that those relationships with many people, including myself, can be so deformed when you get closer to each other. Whereby you actually start to rely on the image that one person has of the other. For example: I think that you think of me in this or that way and I am going to live according to that, instead of trying to be yourself, which sounds fashionable. That image that you live by is almost never true. And that while in our Western society you have the freedom to live the way you want to." Bijl explained to Terreehorst.
To Sandra Van Beek he said the following, among other things: "What interests me about relationships with people is that it can be so deforming in the long run, both between a man and a woman and between parents and children. Here it is actually an ambiguous feeling, which the main character Tom has in TIRO; an ambivalence: death-life The boy does the duck shooting with passion, but he cannot have the suffering of the animal. There is a fascination with life and death. Of course, that's what a lot of things have in common. Here it's just clearer." "The boy feels misunderstood: soils have been pulled out from under him. The course of the story is a character sketch of the boy. In Cannes, where TIRO had already screened in the spring, the film ended differently. The ending was originally a question mark. But the distributor and the cinema operator wanted it to be different. I liked the other better, but they said it would confuse the audience. I have now added the ending according to the course of the story. I would never suddenly put a row of naked girls in it".
In TIRO, Bijl shows a number of things, such as the conservative family the main character, Tom, grows up in, the environment he lives in, Brabant's Biesbosch bourgeoisie. He does not limit himself to the relationship with his sister. His family may not be rich, but apparently there has been money. Moreover, his father is a doctor, a dignitary who can afford things. But the boy does nothing. He starts with a lot of "no's" to all sorts of things, and the "yes's" he doesn't know yet. People fail him because they don't do the things he thinks are obvious. Even his sister, with whom he has a special relationship.
"In any case, she is the one who is closest to his heart, despite the fact that she is planning to marry someone he does not like. She knows what he is talking about, but he does not know what she is talking about. She says: you just have to live, you have to eat. you have to go through days, you have to be aware of repetitions. I think she is an example of a kind of honorable opportunism. I find that an interesting person, that sister. She sees a lot of things, but she also accepts a lot of life. She lacks illusions. She finds it interesting to see how that boy is looking for something behind everything that happens, but she says "There is nothing, things are made more interesting than they are". For that grandfather, fighting is much more real. He turns out to have been a member of a socialist party and what he says is that you used to fight for something because you really needed it. Bread and potatoes and meat. TIRO is a hunting term, used quite widely in Europe and especially when hunting flying game, to warn another hunter - the word is said to come from French: "tire-haut". In English, "tiro" also means newcomer, a person with little experience.
Henny Alma, Kitty Courbois, Marina de Graaf
Anton van Munster, Paul van den Bos