Borgman of Alex van Warmerdam
“Borgman” is inventive as to how it builds a contemporary modern allegory of political insinuations and compact as to how its concise structure serves both plot and narrative. Alex van Warmerdam, the director and writer of Borgman, did not distinguish allegory from symbolism while talking to his spectators in Athens, yesterday night- and what for, really?-. However, the spectators may see an allegorical value in his film. If Ihab Hassan, the American literary theorist, saw ‘‘Borgman’’, he would feel dizzy where to place it, in Modernism or Postmodernism. This is a definitely witty and cerebral film-making, from which the exceptional interpretation of Hadewych Minis (Marina) illustrates the movie subject better and marks it as one of the best choices of the 19th Athens International Film Festival “Nychtes Premieras” for this year, 2013.
Just from scratch we see people living in land drawers, earth boxes. In a while we observe one deprived man looking for shelter in a rich –in appearance- family; his desire is to find a bathroom and have a shower. He is a stranger but claims to be treated as a guest. After the first and absolute denial of the husband, Richard (Jeroen Perceval) to fulfill the man’s request, followed by strong beating, his wife Marina (Hadewych Minis) starts helping the stranger gradually, in an attempt to feel well with her conduct, even though this man is more or less an invader with her own consent. Here the story comes. The man communicates with animals and he is the forerunner of Camiel Borgman (Jan Bijvoet), the new gardener that will be on duty after a sequence of murders and dead heads in ciment down the water. The plot implies the manifestations of the modern way of life that disregard the essence of nature role, whilst nature has deeper impact on human reaction.
We notice the presence of three during the whole movie but not by chance. The gardener is the husband’s choice and only after his approval, he starts working. It is clear that the number “three” provokes not only our interest in the narrative but also it calls upon to assumptions in a more general context; it stirs participation and brings antithesis. It is of “political” value. However, a close look to Ihab Hassan features’ list of Modernism and Postmodernism could make us consider “Borgman” as a modern film that took advantage of the postmodern features.
I would not say that “Funny Games” of Haneke gave Alex van Warmerdam the inspiration to create his own story. But I could say that this is a very good chance to stay unmoved, excited, and passionate by the film atmosphere without thinking anything that relates to sophisticated assumptions. It is a movie, which surpassed the whole of theories- what we have read and seen already- in order to find a place in culture instead of mixing things together. This is the reason why I loved Borgman. It is compact and inspiring.