Posted on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 by Russ Fischer
Almost every year at Cannes, there’s a film that gets attention for pure WTF-ness. This year it could have been Ari Folman’s The Congress, but by the time everything is said and done it may actually be Borgman. The Dutch film has some of the same tone seen in other notable Cannes entries such as Dogtooth, Sightseers, Holy Motors, and several films from Michael Haneke — it’s a modern film that takes place in a recognizable, seemingly “normal” world. And yet there’s something very off in the air.
Alex van Warmerdam directs Jan Bijvoet as a homeless man who makes a simple request of a bourgeois family, leading the husband (Jeroen Perceval) to reject him even as his wife (Hadewych Minis) is more supportive. The man works his way into the family’s life, and then things get weird.
Here’s a trailer for the film that shows some (but by no means all) of the quiet beginning, and quickly escalates into stuff that, let’s just say, you probably wouldn’t want happening in your own house.
There’s an English-subtitled version that can’t be embedded; below is one with French subs. You can also watch the teaser with only the Dutch audio which might be the best way to go. That’s what I first saw, and I was pulled into it based purely on the images. I almost don’t want to know what the dialogue is just yet.
The Playlist called the film “Caustic, surreal, creepy, and blackly funny,” saying “the film never ceases to twist, turn and surprise, taking wicked joy in constantly switching us back on ourselves and our expectations of the characters.” Variety says there’s a point where the film “takes a decisive turn for the macabre and never looks back” The Film Stage calls it “a totally original concept” but remains slightly cool on the conclusion, noting “the mystery behind Borgman’s motivation is what compels the audience to stay glued, even if all the answers are never fully explained by the end. ”
We’ll pass along a US release date and trailer for Borgman when we have it.