Borgman is a dark, malevolent fable in which the central character Camiel Borgman arrives in the sealed-off streets of modern suburbia. Is he a dream, a demon, a twisted allegory, or an all-too-real embodiment of our fears? Whatever the case, his presence unleashes a crowing gallery of distortion around the careful façade constructed by an arrogant, comfortable couple, their three children and nanny.
Borgman is a co-production with Denmark, with Angel Films as co-producer, Sara Hjort and Benjamin Boe Rasmussen on the cast list, and costume designs by Stine Gudmundsen-Holmgren.
Borgman is the first Dutch film in 38 years to be selected for Competition in Cannes.
“In Borgman Alex wanted to explore the darkness and dig deeper into the absurd and the evil – without abandoning the original narrative style and dark humor his previous films are known for. He wanted to shake his audience and make us uneasy. Should we laugh it off, or feel existentially scared? It sounded exciting. Visionary. And after reading the screenplay we were convinced we wanted to help realise the film.”
Infatuated with Alex van Warmerdam’s dark and original universe, Danish producer Tine Mosegaard of Angel Films was compelled to co-produce the director’s eighth feature film Borgman. In return, van Warmerdam was impressed with the Danish actors. Tine Mosegaard talks about her collaboration with Dutch Graniet Films.
How did the collaboration with Alex van Warmerdam and Graniet Films develop?
“We met Marc van Warmerdam, who is producer and brother of Alex van Warmerdam, at the CinemArt co-production market in Rotterdam in 2011 where Borgman was selected for the project catalogue.
We were familiar with Alex’s previous films and his work at the theater. We liked the fact that the project was so ambitious. Alex wanted to explore the darkness and dig deeper into the absurd and the evil – without abandoning the original narrative style and dark humor his previous films are known for. He wanted to shake his audience and make us uneasy. Should we laugh it off, or feel existentially scared?
It sounded exciting. Visionary. And after reading the screenplay we were convinced that we wanted to help realise the film.”
What is Angel Film’s interest in engaging with a Dutch project?
“In Denmark, we are blessed with an impressive array of talented directors, but someone exactly like Alex is actually hard to find. Alex is a classic Renaissance man who writes, directs, acts, and paints. His absurd narrative style and artistic vision is unique. He has his own signature.
Our interest in the project was mainly driven by the opportunity to work on an exceptional project. It was a gift, also for the Danish creatives involved. In order to stay motivated though all the logistical challenges a co-production entails you must be in love with the material.”
What was Graniet Film’s interest in the Danish cooperation?
“From the very beginning Graniet targeted Scandinavian partners because Alex wanted to work with Danish actors. He was impressed by the Danish films he had seen and was interested in several actors. To avoid ending up with a Danish/Dutch/Flemish/English euro-pudding, it was important to Alex that the language was incorporated in the narrative. He solved the issue by casting Sara Hjort as the family’s Danish nanny, which allowed the actress to speak English, while Benjamin Boe Rasmussen’s role as a mysterious man in the opening sequence is silent.
Working with both Sara and Benjamin has definitely sharpened Alex’ taste for working with Danish actors in the future. This also applies for the cooperation with the talented Danish costume designer Stine Gudmundsen-Holmgren. So hopefully Borgman is just the first of many films we’ll co-produce.”
Borgman is a Dutch-Belgian-Danish co-production. Danish co-producers are Tine Mosegaard and Mogens Glad.
Previous Danish-Dutch co-productions include the Dutch majors Stijn Connix’ Sea of Silence (2003), Urszula Antoniak’s Code Blue, selected for Directors’ Fortnight in 2011, and Danish majors Christian E. Christiansen’s ID:A (2011), Thomas Vinterberg’s It’s All about Love (2003), and Lars von Trier’s Manderlay, selected for Cannes Competition in 2005, and Nymphomaniac (2013), all produced by Zentropa.
Alex van Warmerdam
Writer, designer, director and actor.
Born 1952, the Netherlands.
Graduated in graphic design and painting from Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam.
Co-founder of the Music-Theatre Company Hauser Orkater and De Mexicaanse Hond Theatre Company.
Films include Abel (1986), The Northeners (1992), The Dress (1996), winner of the FIPRESCI Award at the Venice Film Festival, Little Tony (1998), Grimm (2003) and The Last Days of Emma Blank (2009).
Angel Films / Det Danske Filmstudie
Founded in 1988 by Mogens Glad.
The company is run by co-owner and producer Poul Erik Lindeborg and manager Peter Sølvsten Thomsen.
The production unit Angel Production has produced and co-produced more than 30 features and documentaries plus various TV concepts.
Productions include Tintin et moi (2003), Okay (2002), Shake It All About (2001) and Dancer in the Dark (2000, associate producer).
In 2005, Angel Films acquired Det Danske Filmstudie, one of the oldest film studios in Denmark.
Angel Film’s new strategy is to position itself as an attractive co-production partner for Danish and international companies and as a growth centre for new talents.
In 2010, Det Danske Filmstudie hired producer Tine Mosegaard, former Head of Industry at CPH:DOX, to achieve the company’s new stated objective.