Country: Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, The
Language: Dutch
Year: 2013
Running Time: 113 min
BORGMAN is the central character in Alex van Warmerdam’s dark, malevolent fable. Is he a dream or a demon, a twisted allegory or an all-too-real embodiment of our fears?  BORGMAN is a sinister arrival in the sealed-off streets of modern suburbia. His presence unleashes a crowing gallery of distortion around the careful façade constructed by an arrogant, comfortable couple, their three children and nanny.
Director Alex van Warmerdam
Writer Alex van Warmerdam
Producer Marc van Warmerdam
Line Producer Berry van Zwieten
Cinematography Tom Erisman
Art Director Geert Paredis
Editor Job ter Burg
Production Company Graniet Film
Music Vincent van Warmerdam
Sound Editor Peter Warnier
Jan Bijvoet as Camiel Borgman
Hadewich Minis as Marina
Jeroen Perceval as Richard
Alex van Warmerdam as Ludwig
Tom Dewispelaere as Pascal
Sara Hjort Ditlevsen as Stine
Dirkje van der Pijl as Rebecca
Annet Malherbe as Brenda
Eva van de Wijdeven as Ilonka
Pieter-Bas de Waard as Leo
"Evil comes in everyday form, embodied within ordinary, normal, polite men and women who perform their tasks with pride and pleasure, and with ruthless attention to detail. I wanted to show that evil is enacted not just on cold winter nights, but in the optimistic summer, beneath a warm and comforting sun." First Dutch title in over 30 years to be selected for competition at the Cannes Film Festival 2013.
Alex van Warmerdam  | director
Writer, designer, director and actor was born on August 14, 1952 in Haarlem, the Netherlands. After attending the School of Graphic Design, he went to study at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, where he graduated in graphic design and painting. He was co-founder of the Music-Theatre Company Hauser Orkater and in 1980 he set up De Mexicaanse Hond Theatre Company.
He made the short film DE STEDELING and after that, the feature films: ABEL (1986), which won the critic’s award at the Venice film Festival, THE NORTHENERS (1992), which won three Felix’s in 1992 for music, art direction and best film, and THE DRESS (1996), winner of the FIPRESCI Award at the Venice Film Festival, and the Dutch Film Critic’s Award. THE DRESS was sold to over 25 territories. LITTLE TONY (1998), which won the Prize of the Filmfest (Annet Malherbe) at the Ludwigsburg/Stuttgart Film Festival and was nominated for the European Film Awards 1998 in the categories Best Actress and Best Script. GRIMM (2003) has been screened at several festivals worldwide.
2003 GRIMM
1986 ABEL
Author: Carlos Aguilar
"Deceptive at first, the film might come across as darkly comedic or satirical, but this reaction is clearly one’s attempt to comprehend how viciousness can be enacted with such restraint. Make no mistake, Borgman is a morbid study that pushes the boundaries and examines human’s predisposition for violent behavior. Raising more questions than for which it provides answers, the film revels in the psychological implications of the horrifying occurrences. Unique and directed with uncanny precision, this is a work of absolute diabolic brilliance by an unquestionable visionary."
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Author: Guy Lodge
“A sly, insidious and intermittently hilarious domestic thriller that is likely to remain one of the most daring selections of this year's Cannes competish.”
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Author: Jessica Kiang
“Caustic, surreal, creepy, and blackly funny, Dutch polymath Alex van Warmerdam’s “Borgman” is the trickster god in this year’s Cannes competition pantheon. Tonally similar to recent cultish favorites from Yorgos Lanthimos and Ben Wheatley (“Dogtooth” feels like a particularly close and favoured first cousin), there’s also a little Haneke its chilly dissection of a perfect bourgeois life. But it’s really its own thing, due to the inspired choice to take recognisable archetypes of evil and mischief-making, and let them loose on a crisply contemporary, contained playground in the form of an aspirational, architect-designed modernist house, its gardens, and the lives of the family that lives there.”
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The Wrap
Author: Sarah Stone
“In an era where there are very few truly surprising films, "Borgman" is one of the rare movies that manages to find something entirely new to say, with original, oddly drawn characters."
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Author: Allan Hunter
“Stitch together a Bunuellian satire of the bourgeoisie with the enigmatic unease of a Michael Haneke drama and the absurdist humour of Roy Andersson and you begin to have the measure of Borgman, an unsettling, blackly comic fable from veteran Dutch director Alex van Warmerdam (Grimm, The Last Days Of Emma Blank etc).”
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De Stentor
“The Toronto critic makes a comparison with Michael Haneke, who’s film Amour won the Palme d’Or last year. “In Borgman, Haneke meets David Lynch in an absurd thriller that is continuously frightening, without overplaying its hand“. A Brazilian journalist maintained after the screening that he “is envious of the Dutch for making such a wonderfully perverse film.”
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Author: Max Winter
"If you were a novelist, or a filmmaker, or a playwright, or even a scholar, or a critic, and you wanted a primer on how a story might be put together, you would need to look no further than Alex van Warmerdam’s Borgman. [...] The film, which tells the story of a man’s intrusion and destruction of a harmonious home, has many wonderful attributes: a strong, mercurial performance by Jan Bivjoet as the title character, coupled with an empathetic performance by Hadewych Minis as his onetime love interest, now a comfortably married suburban wife and mother; a gorgeous sense of stillness in its tableaux, often shot from a distance, so we look both harder and less attentively at the on-screen events; a remarkable sense of pacing; and above all, an enticing, pervasive spirit of surrealism. But its structure is its most enduring element."
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Year Category Awarded By Award Result Award Recipient
2013 Best Film European Film Festival Palic Winner Alex van Warmerdam
2013 Best Film Haifa International Film Festival Winner Alex van Warmerdam
2013 Best Film Netherlands Film Festival Winner Marc van Warmerdam
2013 Best Screenplay Netherlands Film Festival Winner Alex van Warmerdam
2013 Best Actress Netherlands Film Festival Winner Hadewich Minis
2013 Best European fantastic film Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival Winner Alex van Warmerdam
2013 Life Achievement Athens International Film Festival Winner Alex van Warmerdam
2013 Best International Feature Film Lund International Fantastic Film Festival Winner Alex van Warmerdam
2013 Life Achievement Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival Winner Alex van Warmerdam