“And they descended upon the earth to strengthen their ranks”. Borgman is a Dutch film which throws up as many questions as answers to its raison d’etre. It’s weird and mysterious, that’s for sure. Camiel appears to be a vagrant of sorts, living underground in a sort of warren as the film begins. He is pursued by a priest with a gun, and hunting dogs, but quickly makes good his escape and ends up in a well to do suburb, knocking on doors, looking for a place to have a bath. He is repeatedly knocked back, until he comes to wealthy Richard and Marina’s house (a large modernist home with outbuildings, a nanny and a gardener). Richard becomes enraged by this tramp’s impudence, and gives Camiel quite a beating, which shocks Marina, and she feels sorry for this poor down on his luck fellow. And this is where the fun begins. Insidiously, the increasingly sinister Camiel inveigles his way into the life of Marina and her family. Often darkly comic, but always creepy, we never quite find out who Camiel and his “merry” band of accomplices are, but it’s very interesting getting to know them.
Mi Limon! Mi Limonero! At last, Bad Hair is an often uplifting film about a little boy in Venezuela. Junior is nine years old and loves to sing. His single mother, Marta, has lost her job as a security guard, and is struggling to keep on top of her life. The fact that her son plays with girls and is obsessed with straightening his hair is not helping. Junior doesn’t fit with his mother’s idea of masculinity, and as a mixed race boy with an afro, he doesn’t look much like his mother either. His grandmother Carmen aids and abets his urges to “be a singer with straight hair”, leading to increased tensions between the two women in his life. Grinding poverty and desperation are well represented in this charming film, but Junior’s exuberance and Carmen’s singing lessons are enough to leave you dancing your way out of the cinema. Mi Limon, Min Limonero!