Sunday, March 30, 2014

Borgman (2013)

Director: Alex van Warmerdam
Writer:    Alex van Warmerdam
Cast:       Jan Bijvoet, Hadweych Minis, Jeroen Perceval
Language: Dutch

A vagrant/homeless man enters the lives of an upper class family and turns their lives into a psychological nightmare especially for the elders in the family.

Every year I try to get my hands on films that I was looking forward to which are essentially the ones from my favorite directors. After that comes the films that have the awards season buzz about them and those will be done by the time academy awards get done. Now is the time for films that flew under the radar and were too weird to get awards and will go onto become a cult classic. Usually these are the ones that will stand the test of time. You get to know about these films from critics/friends who have a similar taste to you and I got plenty to look forward to over the coming days having acquired many unseen ones from Mihir Fadnavis' top 40 list which you can find here: http://mihirfadnavis.blogspot.in/2013/12/the-40-best-films-of-2013.html

From the synopsis given at the beginning one might be reminded of Michael Haneke's 'Funny Games'. While 'Funny Games' was really an elaborate and clever spoof on horror genre, Brogman deals with people who are among the upper bourgeoisie having trouble finding happiness in their lives which is a running theme in Haneke's other films. The films starts with an opening title card:"And they descended upon the earth to strengthen their ranks" . Then there is an amazing scene in which a bunch of vagrants are driven away from their hiding place under the soil by a priest and a some tough looking people. Borgman, the chief vagrant, then get himself introduced into the lives of  this family who lives in a designer house with a large garden. The husband is busy with his job and the wife who is an artist is seemingly unhappy with her life. Their three children are taken care by a young lady who lives with them. You feel a biblical theme running through the film but nothing supernatural is shown in the film. There is a line in the film where the husband tells the wife that there is no need to feel guilty about being affluent and they are just fortunate that they were born in the west. The wife replies that unfortunate things are bound to happen soon enough for those who are fortunate. She develops feelings for Borgman essentially to escape from her monotonous life and encourages him into reintroduce himself into the family as their gardener. Borgman seemingly has some ulterior ambition with other members of the family as he saves the children from their modern settings and take them along with him for fuck knows what.

It is an engrossing watch and one of the best films from last year. Must get my hands on Alex van Warmerdam's other works.

Rating: 5/5