Athens International Film Festival

    Archive : 19th AIFF 2013

  • Five sardonic shades of black

    With a filmography that has happily reached eight features, participations in the most important film festivals around the world and a small but faithful following that monitors his every step, it would be safe to say that Alex van Warmerdam is one of the most underestimated directors in Europe, whose contribution to the medium is inversely proportional to his reputation.

    The "Prince of black comedy" to those who know and love him, the "crazy Dutchman", whose every new release is yet another provocation to the local status quo. To others, Warmerdam is an authentic poet of the absurd, conjuring up the most paranoid and hilarious stories in order to shed light on the darkest corners of the human psyche.

    Born in 1952 in Haarlem, Northern Holland, apart from filmmaking, he has ventured into graphic design, music, painting, writing and, of course, theater. He is the co-founder of the Hauser Orkater Theater Company, while he has staged mote than ten shows between 1980 and 2013 with theatrical collective De Mexicaanse Hond (The Mexican Hound), which he started together with his brother.

    The entirety of his plays and his novel "De Hand van een Vreemde" (The Hand of a Stranger) have been published in Holland, while he has been the recipient of the prestigious Prins Bernhard Prize for Culture for his contribution to theater and cinema.

    From his very first feature "Abel" (1986), Alex wan Warmerdam had achieved something few of his colleagues have been able to do: to develop a totally personal signature style. His grimly comedic planet revolves around people or entire family units faced with insurmountable problems and moral dilemmas.

    The bigger the problems, the more outrageous the solutions, the further away does the director drift from rational conventions for the sake of his beloved narrative ark. His characters are like puppets in the hands of their master. They have no independence whatsoever and they all have a taste for self-destruction.

    "Borgman's" selection at the most recent Cannes Film Festival's competition section was the perfect excuse for the 19th Athens International Film Festival to pay tribute to Alex wan Warmerdam's work with a complete retrospective, which we feel will set the record straight once and for all. Are you ready to plunge, heard first, into the eccentric universe of a black comedy perfectionist?

    Kostis Theodosopoulos


    Borgman (2013)
    De Laatste Dagen van Emma Blank (2009)
    Ober (2006)
    Grimm (2003)
    Kleine Teun (1998)
    De Jurk (1996)
    De Νoorderlingen (1992)
    Abel (1986)

  • Borgman

    The first Dutch film to make the Cannes competition section in 38 years, "Borgman" is one of the most daring films of the season that not only provoked audiences, but challenged the ...

  • The Last Days of Emma Blank

    In a mansion near the sea, an entire family stoically fulfils middle-aged Emma Blank's every wish with military discipline, vying for the dying woman's fortune. Her husband has assumed ...

  • Waiter

    Edgar is furious. The customers at the restaurant where he works treat him like dirt, his unbearable neighbors shatter any semblance of peace and quiet, his wife is bed-ridden and his mistress ...

  • Grimm

    Drawing inspiration from the Brothers Grimm fairy tale "Brother and Sister" and obviously influenced by spaghetti Westerns and urban legends, Alex van Warmerdam borrows the classic ...

  • Little Tony

    In his fourth feature, Alex van Warmerdam adapts his own stage play, delivering a delightful exercise on the saucy details of a love triangle on a farm in the Dutch countryside. Brand ...

  • The Dress

    How easy is it to structure an entire film around a single object? Can you possibly keep the audience engaged, when the main focus of your story isn't a person but a piece of ...

  • The Northerners

    In his second and most autobiographical film to date, Alex van Warmerdam stirs up childhood memories and places the film in a half-finished building complex in 60s Holland. He lashes ...

  • Abel

    With his first directorial effort in 1986, Alex van Warmerdam aims his poisonous arrows at the Dutch bourgeoisie in an authentically anarchist black comedy that takes no prisoners. The ...