borgman posterAnd they came down to Earth to strengthen their ranks. This mysterious quote penned by the director and highlighted in the opening credits can be used to understand – or interpret – this film.

Borgman is a cruel, strange and disturbing tale, which emphasizes Alex Van Warmerdam’s talent for dark humor – watch his previous work Les Habitants to get an idea.

With his new movie, the Batavian filmmaker focuses on happiness, or to be more accurate, on the comfort enjoyed by certain social classes at the expense of others. Too much wealth seems to deserve punishment could be the tagline here, Borgman, a homeless hired by a rich family as a gardener ending up disturbing the peaceful life of his employers.

Do not expect to find answers to the many questions raised by the plot; rather follow your instinct and find your own interpretation. In the opening scene, three armed men – including a priest – are chasing Borgman, a shaggy man living underground. The film will then reveals slowly his many faces from seducer (when clean and shaved) to menacing and terrifying.  Is he a demon, an angel of the Apocalypse who’s here to punish us for our sins or simply a ubiquitous criminal going after the rich? It’s up to you to decide. The film is somewhat reminiscent of Michael Haneke’s Funny Games, except that the characters do not share the same motivations and methods. For example, rather than torturing his victims, Borgman is more insidious, interfering with the wife’s dreams and delivering a scary portrait of her husband, an arrogant and racist TV producer.

With this critique of consumer society, which he delivers through metaphor rather than directly, Alex Van Warmerdam offers a captivating work. His direction is cold, bare and his film is infused with macabre poetry – one will particularly notice the funny and disturbing scene where the protagonists get rid of a couple bodies, this sequence pretty much summarizing Borgman’s tone. In the end, it feels like a dream that would have brought us in a dark, menacing forest just like what happens to the characters in the conclusion.

Director: Alex van Warmerdam – Actors: Jan Bijvoet, Hadewych Minis, Jeroen Perceval – Running Time: 1:53 – Year: 2013 – Country: Netherlands

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Moland Fengkov

Moland Fengkov

Based in Paris, Moland is a journalist and photographer; He is more particularly responsible for covering the Cannes film festival for Plume Noire, writing movie reviews and taking gorgeous pictures.
Moland Fengkov

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