The Misfortunates

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The Misfortunates
The Misfortunates Poster.jpg
Directed by Felix Van Groeningen
Produced by Dirk Impens
Jeroen Beker
Frans van Gestel
Screenplay by Felix Van Groeningen
Christophe Dirickx
Story by Dimitri Verhulst
Starring Koen De Graeve
Pauline Grossen
Johan Heldenbergh
Music by Jef Neve
Cinematography Ruben Impens
Edited by Nico Leunen
Distributed by Menuet
Release date
  • 16 May 2009 (2009-05-16)
Running time
108 minutes
Country Belgium
Language Dutch

The Misfortunates (Dutch: De helaasheid der dingen) is a 2009 Belgian comedy-drama film directed by Felix Van Groeningen. It is adapted from the (partly autobiographical) book De Helaasheid der Dingen by Belgian writer Dimitri Verhulst. The film stars Koen De Graeve, Johan Heldenbergh, Wouter Hendrickx, Bert Haelvoet, Valentijn Dhaenens, Kenneth Vanbaeden and Gilda De Bal.


Writer Gunther Strobbe made his ladyfriend pregnant and looks back at this youth. He lived together with his father, grandmother and uncles in a house in the fictitious town of Reetveerdegem. Much of his youth was about drinking, cigarettes, women, and truancy. Heavier themes include addiction, criminality, and death.


Critical reception[edit]

LA Weekly found Van Groeningen mixing "the visual exuberance of 'Trainspotting' with the familial pathos of 'Angela’s Ashes'",[1] whilst Variety described the film as starting out as an "extremely lowbrow comedy" but later "morphing into a bittersweet meditation on whether familial love and pride are enough to sustain a proper upbringing."[2]


The film won the Prix Art et Essai at the Cannes Film Festival's Quinzaine des Réalisateurs.[3] It also won three Golden Starfish Awards at the 17th Hamptons International Film Festival.[4] The film was the official Belgian entry for the 82nd Academy Awards in 2010 in the category Best Foreign Language Film.


  1. ^ Chuck Wilson (9 December 2009). "The Misfortunates". LA Weekly. Retrieved 20 January 2010. 
  2. ^ Boyd Van Hoeij (17 May 2009). "The Misfortunates". Variety. Retrieved 20 January 2010. 
  3. ^ ""Misfortunates" win in Cannes". Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroep. 23 May 2009. Retrieved 20 January 2010. 
  4. ^ Eugene Hernandez and Brian Brooks (12 October 2009). ""Misfortunates" Wins 3 at Hamptons Fest". indieWIRE. Retrieved 20 January 2010. 

External links[edit]