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Borgman 2013



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About the Borgman 💬

Who is BORGMAN? 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's arrival in the tree-lined avenues of an exclusive residential area is the beginning of a series of unsettling events around the carefully constructed facade of a wealthy couple, their three children and the nanny.

Modern day Europe: Three armed men, one of them a priest, are out hunting in the woods. The prey they are after is under their very feet: a man, unshaven and sordid, who sleeps in an underground dug-out of his own making. Camiel Borgman (Jan Bijvoet) has just woken up when his attackers stick a spear into the ground that narrowly misses his face. He manages to get away and warns his followers who are hiding in similar haunts. They disappear in various directions.

BORGMAN walks through the green avenues of a wealthy neighborhood. He rings the bell at a large villa and asks the housewife who opens the door if he might have a bath. She shuts the door in his face without hesitation.

At another villa, BORGMAN is faced with Richard (Jeroen Perceval), a young television producer. When he, too, is about to close the door, BORGMAN claims that Richard's wife Marina (Hadewych Minis) once nursed him in the past. Although Marina, when also at the door, denies knowing BORGMAN, Richard cannot control his jealousy and aggression, and ruthlessly lays into the tramp. He then pushes his startled wife back into the house. BORGMAN remains lying on the lawn, unconscious. When Marina comes out of the house, intending to look after the wounded man, BORGMAN has vanished.

The couple's three children, Isolde (6), Leo (7) and Rebecca (9), come home from school with their nanny Stine (Sara Hjort Ditlevsen). Richard goes to his work where there's a crisis going on. Marina is upset all evening. Feeling ill at ease she wanders through the house. When she discovers that the wounded BORGMAN is hiding inside the house she allows him to have a bath and - without letting her husband know - arranges a place for him to sleep in the summer house in the garden. When Stine comes across the stranger by chance Marina tells her to keep his presence a secret.

The next day Richard tries to make up with his wife for his behavior with an expensive diamond necklace. Isolde insists that she has seen a magician but nobody listens to her. And BORGMAN doesn't seem to want to leave.

Marina's world of plenty is beginning to crumble; her reality and her emotions are at the mercy of the stranger in her house, while her husband Richard haunts her dreams at night in the shape of a cruel monster.

Two emaciated dogs slink through the house, but BORGMAN dismisses them peremptorily: ''You have come too soon,'' he says. In the night, when Stine and the parents are asleep, he tells the children a story about a white child that floats above the clouds.

He gets rid of the gardener and summons his followers.

The time has come!


In BORGMAN, I wanted to show that evil comes in everyday form, embodied within ordinary, normal, polite men and women who perform their tasks with pride and pleasure, and with ruthless attention to detail. I wanted to show that evil is enacted not just on cold winter nights, but in the optimistic summer, beneath a warm and comforting sun.

And I wanted to show that a man like BORGMAN, who continually remains elusive, can intoxicate a woman so fully with a desire that she is rendered powerless.

This film is darker than my other films because I wanted to go further. I wanted to descend into an unknown, dark part of my imagination and see what was to be found there. And I wanted to make a film very much open to interpretation, one that raises more questions than it answers.

I think BORGMAN is a strong film - ask me again in 10 years and I will have forgotten how I ever came to write it - but in my experience, there are always things which could be better. Nevertheless, I am very curious about how it will be received.

Alex van Warmerdam

Borgman Movie Details 🎥

Directed by

Alex van Warmerdam

Writing Credits

Alex van Warmerdam


Jan Bijvoet

Hadewych Minis

Jeroen Perceval

Sara Hjort Ditlevsen

Eva van de Wijdeven

Annet Malherbe

Tom Dewispelaere

Alex van Warmerdam

Elve Lijbaart

Dirkje van der Pijl

Pieter-Bas de Waard

Gene Bervoets

Ariane Schluter

Mike Weerts

Pierre Bokma

Mees van Warmerdam

Reinier Bulder

Music by

Vincent van Warmerdam

Cinematography by

Tom Erisman

Genres: Drama, Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Countries: Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark

Borgman Official Trailer

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