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Alex van Warmerdam

Borgman * Alex van Warmerdam (2013)

The latest film of the Dutch filmmaker Alex van Warmerdam opened last year’s Cannes filmfestival which gave it a lot of positive attention. People compared the film to the works of Lynch and Haneke, but “Borgman” does not have the darkness of Lynch or the gruesomeness of Haneke. Like the only other film of Warmerdam that I reviewed so far (click on his name above), I would rather make comparisons with Scandinavian productions. Looking back perhaps not so much “Mifunes Sidste Sang” or “Festen”, but rather “Adams Æbler” or “Salmer Fra Kjøkkenet“.
“Borgman” opens with a great and weird, but completely unexplained scene. The unexplained weirdness keeps returning in the film. Many events, and actually the overall story, are pretty absurd but you will never know what the things that happen, happen. I will not tell you about this story. As with “Kitchen Stories“, the film is probably more enjoyable when you do not know what to expect.
Plus elements of the film are some great absurdistic findings. Minor parts, the (partly) ‘Dutch style’ unconvincing acting. Fortunately this does not go for all actors and the main character is great. A weird film, but apparently not when you know Warmerdam’s other films, not magnificent, but one you might want to see some time.

De Laatste Dagen Van Emma Blank * Alex van Warmerdam (2009)

“The Last Days Of Emma Blank” is a Dutch film and I am happy to be able to say that it is not a bad one too! Emma Blank suffers some kind of disease and she is about to die. For her last weeks she retreats into a large mansion somewhere along the Dutch coast with a stack of servants who have to obey her every demand. As the film develops the relation between all characters slowly becomes clear. “De Laatste Dagen…” is finally a Dutch film without disfunctional nudity or foul language/characters, but with a beautiful young woman and functional weird characters. In fact, the realistic but absurdistic characters and humour reminds of Scandinavian films such as “Festen” or “Mifines Sidste Sang”. The developing characters are suddenly turned 180% after a ‘revelation’, which adds loads of extra sauce to the story. “Emma Blank waits for her death. So do her servants.” Well done!