The Northerners

  • Film
  • Comedy
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Van Warmerdam's bizarre but not unappealing comedy inhabits a world of its own. Set in a remote village in the latter half of 1960, the film observes the oddball antics of the few villagers through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy so obsessed with news from the Congo that he wanders the woods in blackface calling himself Lumumba. Evidently, this is a form of escape from his parents' bickering: his fanatically religious mother is unhappy about the sexual demands made by his butcher father. The neighbours, meanwhile, are a woman desirous of a child and her infertile forest-warden husband, arch-enemy of the postman, who habitually steams open everyone's mail. What all this signifies is unclear. Certainly, the village is presented as a hotbed of hypocrisy, veiled racism, dysfunctional sexuality, and all-round nosiness, but Van Warmerdam isn't one for the explicit touch. That said, there are moments of deadpan charm, and the offbeat tone holds the attention surprisingly well.

Release details

Duration: 107 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Alex Van Warmerdam
Screenwriter: Alex Van Warmerdam, Aat Ceelen
Cast: Leonard Lucieer
Jack Wouterse
Rudolf Lucieer
Alex Van Warmerdam
Annet Malherbe
Loes Wouterson
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