Alex van Warmerdam’s Borgman slipped in and out of Cannes 2013 under our radar, but Drafthouse Films honed in on the disturbing and apparently utterly unique flick, snapping it for North America and including it in the “Drafthouse Alliance.” Read on for more details along with a new still.
From the Press Release:
Drafthouse Films, the film distribution arm of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, announced the acquisition of North American rights to the bizarro domestic thriller Borgman from this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Directed by award-winning auteur Alex van Warmerdam (Grimm, Abel), Borgman is the first Dutch film in Cannes competition in almost 40 years. A US theatrical and VOD/digital release is planned for 2014, and Films We Like in Toronto will handle Canadian distribution. US fans who enroll in the “Drafthouse Alliance” subscription program can guarantee their pre-order of the film.
Like Yorgos Lanthimos’ Dogtooth and Michael Haneke’s Funny Games, Borgman is an allegorical tale exploring the nature of evil in unexpected places. A vagrant enters the lives of an upper-class family, igniting a descent from darkly comic dream to maddening psychological nightmare. “I wanted to show evil through the abnormal behaviour of normal people,” said Warmerdam at the film’s Cannes press conference, “the kind that you can come across in the street.”
Borgman shocked and delighted Cannes audiences and has been praised as “one of the rare movies that manages to find something entirely new to say” (The Wrap). For Jessica Kiang at The Playlist, the film “never ceases to twist, turn and surprise… one of the biggest unexpected pleasures the festival has thus far provided.”
“Maybe once a year I am deluged after a premiere with texts and emails to the effect of ‘this is such a Drafthouse movie,'” says Drafthouse Films founder and CEO Tim League. “It’s strange, disturbing, hysterical, and utterly unique. Borgman is THE quintessential Drafthouse film of Cannes. We can’t wait to share it with audiences in North America.”
On completing the deal, Winnie Lau of Fortissimo Films commented, “We could not be more passionate about Borgman and the incredibly talented creative team behind it, led by the visionary Alex van Warmerdam and producing partner Marc van Warmerdam. We are thrilled to find, in Drafthouse Films, a perfect home for the film in North America. We know they are the ideal team to maximize its potential in that market.”
Modern day Europe: A priest and his companion hunt silently through the fields, accompanied by a braying dog. They are armed and deadly. Their quarry is Camiel Borgman, living in military sparseness in an underground den, near companions Ludwig and Pascal. Camiel scrapes out with some difficulty, hitching a ride with a doomed truck driver on a relentless trip to the heart of suburbia. He passes by two odd women, Brenda and Ilonka, with whom he seems to share a history. When a dirty Camiel arrives at the door of artist Marina and media executive Richard’s expansive, designer-chic home, the shifting perceptions of Van Warmerdam’s screenplay begin to displace and disorient the audience. Hallucinogenic elements dot the consciousness as Camiel shifts between the roles of victim and aggressor. He asks for a bath. He toys with Richard’s jealousy. He is viciously beaten up by his cruelly intolerant host and left wounded on the floor. Marina seeks to assuage her guilt by allowing him a space for the night. She treats his wounds. She makes him some food. She begins to deceive her husband. And Camiel Borgman insistently starts to install himself in the house as his dark advances ebb and flow, push and pull. Marina is self-obsessed; Richard is a casual racist; they employ a nanny, Magot, to look after their three small children, the youngest of whom, Isolde, sees Camiel early on and is responsive to his presence. “There is something that surrounds us,” says Marina, fearfully, but she is no longer in control. Large dogs roam casually through the house. There are flashes of something sinister in the garden as Camiel waits… and watches. Soon he is inhabiting Marina’s dreams. “Couldn’t you come back in another capacity?” she asks him. “I could,” he says, “but it will have consequences.”
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