PRESS CONFERENCE – Alex Van Warmerdam: “I wanted to show evil through the abnormal behaviour of normal people”

Alex Van Warmerdam © FDC / TD

Alex Van Warmerdam, the director of Borgman, presented in Competition, together with all the film’s actors took questions from journalists on Sunday following the screening of the feature film for the media. Selected extracts below.


Alex Van Warmerdam, on the inspiration for his film:
I read critical studies of the Marquis de Sade’s work. Also we all have things hidden in our mind and I tapped into that pool of possibilities. In general, I start with the first scene, I don’t create a synopsis in advance. At that point, I never know which direction I am going to take.

Alex Van Warmerdam, on the meaning of Borgman:
I always try not to give a specific meaning to my films. I want the viewers to form their own opinions. Borgman could be taken as a criticism of western society, but that wasn’t my initial intention. I wanted to show evil through the abnormal behaviour of normal people, the kind that you can come across in the street. There are people who mellow with age. I become crueller. I wonder whether my film hasn’t become too cruel!


Alex Van Warmerdam, on the film’s set design:
When I write, I immediately imagine what the film’s mise-en-scène will be and generally I ty to respect it. I don’t like it when it changes once on set. I like to recreate the set design as it is in my imagination. I like things to stay as I initially conceived them. This is how the house for the film was built and the garden too.

Alex Van Warmerdam, on the script for Borgman:
The script was longer than the film. We therefore took out some of the comic scenes to make it more impactful but also scenes that did not contribute anything to the story. This is the first film in which I move the camera, although normally this is against my most personal beliefs.



Quotes collected by BP