The Misfortunates

In the village of Reetverdegem a teenage boy lives through an extremely turbulent and chaotic youth, dominated by the alcohol-fuelled antics and sexual escapades of his father and uncles. Years later we see adult Gunther, now a writer, looking back on this eventful period.

De helaasheid der dingen
Belgium, Netherlands 2009
  • Czech
108 min.
  • This film is available until 29. 9. 2024 in these territories: Czechia, Slovakia.

The Misfortunates, based on the bestselling novel by Dimitri Verhulst, tells the story of young Gunther Strobbe whose extremely turbulent youth is spent in the village of Reetverdegem in the company of his alcohol-saturated father and uncles. Years later, the adult Gunther, who now writes for a living, looks back over this early period. Not with nostalgia, but with something more akin to bitterness and sadness, since young Gunther gradually comes to the realisation that he doesn’t want simply to follow in the footsteps of the older and, frankly, lost generation. But this choice will be a painful one and, without the affections of the tribe, the big, wide world can be lonely and cold. Benefitting from naturalistic performances and from an energetic narrative style driven by dynamic camera work, director Felix van Groeningen succeeds remarkably well in capturing that paradoxical balance between wanton euphoria and quiet despair, vulgarity and tenderness.

Read more
Director: Felix van Groeningen
Based on: Dimitri Verhulst
Screenplay: Christophe Dirickx, Felix van Groeningen
Cinematography: Ruben Impens
Music: Jef Neve
Sound: Jan Deca, Michel Schöpping
Editing: Nico Leunen
Production Design: Kurt Rigolle
Producer: Dirk Impens
Co-production: Rudy Verzyck, Alberte Gautot, Jeroen Beker, Frans van Gestel
Costumes: Ann Lauwerys
Cast: Koen De Graeve, Wouter Hendrickx, Kenneth Vanbaeden, Valentijn Dhaenens, Johan Heldenbergh, Bert Haelvoet, Gilda De Bal

Cannes Film Festival

2009 – Felix van Groeningen (C.I.C.A.E. Award – Special Mention)

  • This film is available until 29. 9. 2024 in these territories: Czechia, Slovakia.