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The Resurrection of a Bastard ("De Wederopstanding van een Klootzak")

International Premiere
  • Netherlands
  • 2013
  • 85 mins
  • DCP
  • Dutch
  • English (subtitles)

“Brutally violent, darkly funny and cinematically inventive” – Mark Adams, SCREEN DAILY

Ronnie B. is a bastard. A high-level thug who must answer to a sadistic boss named James Joyce, Ronnie has made it his mission to make life an unrelenting misery for anyone who dares cross him, in or out of the line of duty. However, the film opens with an emasculated Ronnie sporting a neck brace, idly musing on the phenomenon of a blister on a dick, and earnestly asking Janus, his driver, how he’s doing these days. Newly blessed with a mysterious psychic gift, Ronnie is now, to paraphrase Janus, less Bruce Willis in DIE HARD than Bruce Willis in THE SIXTH SENSE.

Through flashbacks, we learn that Ronnie was not always the pillar of composed reticence he now appears to be. Past activities ranged from beating a mother to death in front of her child, to the most gruesomely creative use of a vacuum cleaner in cinematic memory. Ultimately, the character of Ronnie joins the ranks of Tony Soprano and Jules Winnfield as an intricately layered study of a hardened gangster who must reconcile a newfound conscience with his previously violent ways. The inimitable Yorick van Wagenigen (most recently of David Fincher’s THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO) gives a powerhouse performance that nimbly oscillates between new Ronnie’s quiet omniscience, and the volatile recklessness of the old.

Actions seem to always have consequences for the characters that populate THE RESURRECTION OF A BASTARD. Infused with the tangible effects of black magic, holy trees, and a delightfully obscure reference to the 1970s Tony Curtis/Roger Moore crime vehicle THE PERSUADERS! , THE RESURRECTION OF A BASTARD is an entirely blissful cinematic experience that represents the current renaissance in Dutch genre filmmaking. The story of Eduardo, an Angolan refugee seeking asylum in the Netherlands and a new life as a rural car mechanic, mysteriously intertwines with Ronnie’s own narrative — like Ronnie, Eduardo is haunted by his past and struggling to reconfigure his own narrative. Riveting with its innovative cinematic style, doused in outrageous bursts of wicked carnage, and topped off with a smattering of shadowy Lynchian humour, THE RESURRECTION OF A BASTARD is a deliciously oddball investigation of the mystery of life, and all the violent possibilities it has to offer.

— Lindsay Peters