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Top 20 Alternative Picks for Cannes 2013: Alex Van Warmerdan’s Borgman

Borgman – Alex Van Warmerdan

Section: Main Competition

Buzz: Alex Van Warmerdan’s latest film is immediately of note because it’s the first Dutch film to play the Main Comp in thirty eight years. But more excitingly, its inclusion here should bring a wider audience to the offbeat Dutch filmmaker who has been consistently making wonderously weird films since his 1986 debut, Voyeur (aka Abel). Enthusiasts may be familiar with some of his well known titles, such as The Northerners (1992), which features Theo Van Gogh in an acting role, or Grimm (2003), but the preview of his latest feature promises that Borgman may be one of the highlights of Cannes 2013.

The Gist: Borgman is the central character in Alex van Warmerdam’s dark, malevolent fable. Is he a dream or a demon, a twisted allegory or an all-too-real embodiment of our fears? Borgman is a sinister arrival in the sealed-off streets of modern suburbia. His presence unleashes a crowing gallery of distortion around the careful façade constructed by an arrogant, comfortable couple, their three children and nanny.

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), FIPRESCI, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2023: The Beast (Bonello) Poor Things (Lanthimos), Master Gardener (Schrader). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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