The Misfortunates (image 1)

A bawdy, heartfelt glimpse into a proudly dysfunctional Belgium family... careens with madcap hilarity.

Duane Byrge, Hollywood Reporter

Screened as part of NZIFF 2010

The Misfortunates 2009

De helaasheid der dingen

Directed by Felix van Groeningen

A bawdy, boisterous, but heartfelt comedy about the perils of growing up in a proudly dysfunctional Belgian family. “Full of hilarity, horror and heartbreak.” — Time Out NY

Belgium / The Netherlands In Dutch with English subtitles
108 minutes CinemaScope

Producer

Dirk Impens

Screenplay

Christophe Dirickx
,
Felix van Groeningen. Based on the novel by Dimitri Verhulst

Photography

Ruben Impens

Editor

Nico Leunen

Production designer

Kurt Rigolle

Costume designer

Ann Lauwerys

Sound

Jan Deca
,
Michel Schöpping

Music

Jef Neve

With

Kenneth Vanbaeden (little Gunther Strobbe, 13 years)
,
Valentijn Dhaenens (Gunther Strobbe)
,
Koen De Graeve (Marcel ‘Celle’ Strobbe)
,
Wouter Hendrickx (Lowie ‘Petrol’ Strobbe)
,
Johan Heldenbergh (Pieter ‘Breejen’ Strobbe)
,
Bert Haelvoet (Koen Strobbe)
,
Gilda De Bal (Granny)
,
Natali Broods (Aunt Rosie)
,
Pauline Grossen (Cousin Sylvie)

Festivals

Cannes (Directors’ Fortnight), Toronto, Pusan 2009

Elsewhere

A bawdy, boisterous, but heartfelt comedy about growing up in a proudly dysfunctional family.

“Your clothes will practically reek of stale cigarette smoke, spilled beer and sausages after spending time with the Strobbes, a tight-knit Belgian clan of dimwits who routinely break furniture while slurring their way through filthy drinking songs. Coming of age in the late 80s, mulleted 13-year-old Gunther Strobbe is following a path of rabble-rousing courtesy of his father and three uncles. All of his mentors are alcoholic womanizers living under their suffering mother’s roof – as real jobs might get in the way of their nude cycling contests, drag parties and Guinness Book-qualifying ale pounding. Adapted from Dimitri Verhulst’s semi-autobiographical novel with a flair that recalls the squalor-and-dazzle visuals of Trainspotting, Felix van Groeningen’s highly entertaining tale is full of hilarity, horror and heartbreak.” — Aaron Hillis, Time Out NY