De Helaasheid der Dingen (2009)










Cannes Film Festival
Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)
2009 Won C.I.C.A.E. Award - Special Mention Felix Van Groeningen



13-year-old Gunther Strobbe grows up surrounded by alcohol, trash and his completely useless father and uncles. Slowly but surely, he''s being prepared for the same hapless life. Can he defy his destiny?

Thirteen-year-old Gunther Strobbe shares his grandmother''s house with his father and three uncles. On a daily basis, Gunther is surrounded by frenzied binges, shameless womanizing and unending bumming around. It looks like Gunther might suffer the same fate unless he can find a way to free himself.

2009 Cannes Film Festival
Won C.I.C.A.E. Award - Special Mention.... (Felix Van Groeningen)

Gunther Strobbe (Kenneth Vanbaeden), 13, lives with his father Celle and three uncles (Breejen, Koen en Lowie) at his grandmother’s. After a series of failed marriages, the Strobbes moved back in with their aged mother. The all-male family lives in the filthiest shack in the unsightly town of Reetveerdegem by the principle: "God created the day and we party our way through it." Every evening Gunther joins his father and uncles in the local bar. They drink themselves into oblivion while Gunther does his lines. The arrival of aunt Rosie and her daughter Sylvie is a welcome break in the drudgery of his daily life. For Gunther, Rosie and Sylvie are proof that there is life outside of Reetveerdegem.

The routine of boozing, chasing women and loafing about is finally broken by an unexpected visit by Child Protective Services. That organization leaves no doubt: this is no environment to raise a 13-year-old child. Father Celle’s reaction is firm: first he smashes the furniture to smithereens (that is what furniture is for), then he beats his son to a pulp and finally he checks into an addiction treatment centre.

Will things ever work out between father and son? Vain hope, it turns out, because during his first weekend away from the centre, Celle cannot resist the call of the Reetveerdegem bars. That is the last time that father and son see each other. Can Gunther at least influence the course of his own history? Can he play a trick on fate? Can he escape the alasness of things? (Heiners Filmseiten)