A little over a year after the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, a number of films that were major talking points at the time have faded from my memory — not everything flourishes outsides the festival bubble. One sneaky title to which my thoughts keep circling back, however, is Alex van Warmerdam's “Borgman” — a film that won no awards from the jury, but provided the Competition with a bracing shot of alluring, cult-beckoning eccentricity.
“Borgman” was a surprising selection in pretty much every sense: Dutch cinema rarely gets much play on the prestige festival circuit, and neither do kinkily comic domestic thrillers that sit at the junction of Haneke Street and Lynch Lane. (I reviewed it for Variety here.) The less you know about the premise, the better: it's routinely described as a home-invasion story, but even that isn't strictly the case. It's more a cautionary tale of oddly persuasive stranger-danger, horror-film trappings bracketing brutal class satire. The film was The Netherlands' foreign-language Oscar submission last year; no surprise that it proved too freaky for the Academy's shortlist.
It's a tricky film to market, so Drafthouse Films have made an unusual, canny move by posting the first five minutes of the film online — a creepy, arresting, immediately riveting chase sequence that nonetheless releases no clues as to where the film plans to go from there. If talk of the film has piqued your curiosity but you're still wavering, this should give you a nudge. (Of course, if you want to see the film entirely fresh, consider this post a friendly reminder that it's on its way.)
“Borgman” opens in New York on Friday, and will expand the following week.