EN - Gunther Strobbe, 13, lives with his father Celle and three uncles (Breejen, Koen and Lowie) at his grandmother's house. 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 according to 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 where they drink themselves into oblivion while Gunther does his homework. But can Gunther influence the course of his own history? Can he play a trick on fate?

FR - Gunther Strobbe, 13 ans, vit avec son père, Celle, et ses trois oncles (Breejen, Koen et Lowie) chez sa grand-mère. Après une série de mariages ratés, les Strobbes se retrouvent chez leur vieille mère, à Reetveerdegem. La famille composée exclusivement de mâles y vit dans le taudis le plus crasseux de ce triste village, selon la devise "Dieu créa le jour, et nous en profitons tous les jours". Tous les soirs, Gunther rejoint son père et ses oncles dans le bar du village. Ils boivent jusqu’à l’oubli pendant que Gunther fait ses devoirs. Gunther entretient une relation difficile avec son père. Le fils et le père arriveront-ils à se réconcilier? L’espoir est vain, puisque le père ne résistera pas à l'appel des bars de Reetveerdegem dès son premier week-end de sortie. L’amie de Gunther est enceinte.  Gunther peut-il influencer un tant soit peu le cours de sa propre histoire ? Pourra-t-il jouer un mauvais tour au destin et échapper à la merditude des choses?


Title The Misfortunates
Original title De helaasheid der dingen
Original language Dutch
Status Completed
Production Majority Flemish
Category Features
Year 2009


Cast Koen De Graeve, Johan Heldenbergh, Wouter Hendrickx, Bert Haelvoet, Valentijn Dhaenens, Kenneth Vanbaeden, Gilda De Bal
Photography Ruben Impens
Editing Nico Leunen
Music Jef Neve

based on the novel of Dimitri Verhulst

Technical specs

Running time film 100'
Release format Redcam
Aspect ratio 1:2.35 (scope)
Sound format Dolby SR
Colour Colour
Available in 2D


Supported by Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF), NFF, MEDIA-EACEA


2010: Palm Springs International Film Festival (USA) / Göteborg International Film Festival (SWE) / Cinema Mundi (CZE) / Hong Kong International Film Festival (CHN) / Istanbul International Film Festival (TUR) / CPH:PIX International Film Festival Copenhagen (DNK) / Mosaico d'Europeo Film Festival (ITA) / Crossing Europe Film Festival (AUT) / Incontri Cinematografici Stresa (ITA) / Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (CZE) / New Zealand International Film Festival (NZE) / Melbourne International Film Festival (AUS) / Vooravond Student Kick Off (BE) / Warsaw International Film Festival (POL) / Leeds International Film Festival (GBR) / Osaka European Film Festival  (JPN)


2010: Golden Tulip Award voor Beste Film (Istanbul International Film Festival) / Beste Film, Beste Acteur (Koen De Graeve), Beste Acteur in Bijrol (Wouter Hendrickx), Beste Debuut (Kenneth Vanbaeden), Publieksprijs (Vlaamse Filmprijzen 2010)

2009: Prix Art et Essai (Cannes International Film Festival ) / Beste Film, Beste Mannelijke Acteur (Koen de Graeve & Kenneth Vanbaeden), Publieksprijs (CINESSONNE ) / L'Amphore d'Or voor Beste Film (Festival du Film Grolandais) / Jo Röpcke Film Award (Flanders International Film Festival Ghent) / Golden Starfish Award Best Film, Zickerman Foundation Award Best Photography, Kodak Award Best Scenario (Hamptons International Film Festival) / Publieksprijs (International Film Festival Bratislava)

Flanders foursome selected for Festroia’s competition

Four Flemish features have been selected for competition at the 29th Festroia International Film Festival in Portugal (7-16 June). Brasserie RomantiqueThe Broken Circle BreakdownOffline and Time of My Life are all in the running to take home some prizes. This year, the festival has also organised a focus on Belgium and pays homage to Flemish actor Jan Decleir.

Madly in LoveBoth Joel Vanhoebrouck’s Brasserie Romantique and Felix van Groeningen’s The Broken Circle Breakdown screen as part of the fest’s official competition. Peter Monsaert’s directorial debut Offline is selected for the competitive First Works section, while Nic Baltazar is competing in the Man and His Environment category with Time of My Life.

Published on Wednesday 29 May 2013

The Full Felix

At film school students are taught that a movie is made three times. You write it, you shoot it, and you edit it. Felix Van Groeningen never forgot this lesson. At every stage of filmmaking, the director will push things to the limits. He writes versions of the same story until he goes crazy himself. While shooting, he keeps on going until the whole crew is exhausted. And while editing he takes radical measures to get to the point where the film is the rollercoaster it was intended, but never foreseen to be.

Felix rising

fvgWhat sets Felix Van Groeningen’s heart racing is the moment when he can match an actor with a role. ‘When I see those two things come together, for me it’s like the feeling of falling in love,’ he says capturing that sence of excitement in a performance is what his cinema is all about. ‘At the moment itself, in front of the camera. It has to touch me. The director of such films as The Misfortunates and The Broken Circle Breakdown is happy to admit that  he finds writing difficult and that visual style is not uppermost in his mind when conceiving a film.

Published on Wednesday 22 May 2013

The Fortunate One

When everything comes together there’s nothing to beat being a film producer. ‘Finding an audience with a good film is amazing,’ says Dirk Impens of Menuet. It’s a big kick. It’s orgasmic.’ Impens felt the love early on in his career with Daens, which was nominated for an Oscar, and more recently with Felix Van Groeningen’s The Misfortunates, which was a huge success at home and in festivals abroad. Van Groeningen’s latest, The Broken Circle Breakdown, rolls out internationally at the Berlinale.

dirkimpensmagHowever, Impens wasn't so sure it would happen with van Groeningen's most recent movie. Where The Misfortunates attracted a young audience with its mix of comic bad behaviour and deep emotion, The Broken Circle Breakdown is about a more sobering subject: a couple driven apart when their small daughter develops a terminal illness.

Published on Wednesday 15 May 2013

Misfortunates and Brownian Movement pull off appearing act in NY

Earlier this week, the NY Disappearing Act IV European film festival confirmed both Felix van Groeningen’s The Misfortunates and Nanouk Leopold’s Brownian Movement for the fest’s screening bill. It’s the very first time that the NY festival selects Belgian cinema from Flanders and they enthusiastically signed up for two films.

The Misfortunates_stillThe Disappearing Act IV European film festival is organized by a number of  European cultural organizations in the framework of the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) in New York. The festival will screen 25 contemporary films from all over the Old Continent.

Published on Thursday 29 March 2012

Eight feature projects to receive VAF funding

The Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF) has approved funding for eight fiction feature projects in different stages of development this month. The list contains both established names such as Felix van Groeningen (The Misfortunates) and Caroline Strubbe (Lost Persons Area) as well as these of emerging talents.

Director Felix van GroeningenHalf of the greenlighted projects are still in the early stages of development and have received scriptwriting support. Lee & Cindy C., a tragicomedy on rock’n roll dreams and unpredictable love, will be produced by Eyeworks Film & TV drama and scripted by Stany Crets (Old Belgium). Manu Riche receives script funding for a feature film project titled Problemski Hotel.

Published on Tuesday 25 January 2011

You must be logged in to view the press kit. Login

Don't have an account? Register

Last edited on 30 January 2018

Short info

Director Felix van Groeningen
Producers Dirk Impens
Writers Felix van Groeningen, Christophe Dirickx

Coupure Links 67
9000 Ghent
T +32 9 235 73 70
T +32 9 235 73 79


55, avenue Traversière
75012 Paris
T +33 1 44 67 30 00
F +33 1 43 41 32 30

Preferential partners