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.

By: GA

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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