The last days of Emma Blank

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German title The last days of Emma Blank
Original title De laatste van Emma Blank
Country of production Netherlands
original language Dutch
Publishing year 2009
length 89 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Alex van Warmerdam
script Alex van Warmerdam
production Marc van Warmerdam
Adriana Piasek-Wanski
music Alex van Warmerdam
camera Tom Erisman
cut Job ter Burg

The last days of Emma Blank (original title: De laatste dagen van Emma Blank ) is a Dutch feature film by director Alex van Warmerdam from 2009. The film contains tragicomic elements through to grotesque details.


Emma Blank lives with her servants in a remote country house on the Dutch coast. Her servant Haneveld coordinates everyday life, Bella runs the kitchen for her, Gonnie acts as her maid, Meier serves as her factotum . The household is completed by Theo, a middle-aged man who is treated like a dog by everyone and who behaves accordingly. Emma Blank bullies her staff, who do not move a face at this, submissively caring for her and addressing her as "madam".

Little by little the network of relationships between the protagonists is revealed: Emma and Haneveld are married to each other, Gonnie is their daughter. Theo, Bella and Emma are siblings, Meier is Bella's son and therefore also Gonnie's cousin, with whom he is in love. For her part, Gonnie has a relationship with Martin, the only person who does not live in the house. Finally, Haneveld has a sexual relationship with Bella, his sister-in-law.

Emma is doomed to die and all the members of the household are just waiting for her to die. They have made a pact: Emma can behave as the hostess as she likes, her tyranny is tolerated. In return for this, they will inherit Emma's fortune one day.

The situation escalates when Emma indicates that the inheritance will not turn out as expected. From this point on, it is ignored by everyone and no longer supplied with food. During a fit of weakness Theo fixes her to the wooden floor with staples in her clothes, the others let him be. Martin, however, observes the crime through the window and is therefore murdered by Theo, who has since given up the role of the dog. Finally Emma dies of emaciation and is thrown into a pit that has already been dug next to the house. In order to forestall the possibility that Theo, who as a dog had already deliberately rubbed against Gonnie, would commit himself to the young woman, at Bella's instigation, Haneveld kills his brother-in-law in front of everyone and pushes him to Emma's grave.

Gonnie gives Meier a final rebuff, because his affection for her had only served as protection against Theo's assault, and so nothing can keep her in the community.

Scenic details

In an extended scene at the beginning of the film, the staff sit together at the kitchen table, spooning soup and discussing. It takes a long time for Haneveld to notice that his soup plate is completely filled with a soaked tie.

Theo consistently maintains the role assigned to him as a house dog. When Meier throws a ball and encourages him to fetch it, he only complies with this request after he becomes aware that Emma is watching him.


The television station Das Erste comments: “With the pitch-black comedy The Last Days of Emma Blank , laughter gets stuck in your throat more than once. ... The award-winning director Alex van Warmerdam is a specialist in weird and macabre humor. After moments of bizarre comedy, he lets situations of selected maliciousness follow. "

The Tagesspiegel notes: “As far as the friendly, idyllic portrayal of emotional depths is concerned, the film is reminiscent of the role models of Luis Buñuel and Claude Chabrol . Alex van Warmerdam may well lag behind these masters, but cinema needs epigones like him if it wants to continue traditions. "

Awards (selection)

The production won in 2009 at the International Film Festival of Venice award Label Europa Cinemas and at the Netherlands Film Festival , the Golden Calf . In the same year the film was also nominated at the Warsaw International Film Festival .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Certificate of release for the last days of Emma Blank . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , October 2011 (PDF; test number: 129 985 V).
  2. The last days of Emma Blank. (No longer available online.) The first, archived from the original on August 23, 2016 ; accessed on June 7, 2018 .
  3. The last days of Emma Blank. Der Tagesspiegel, accessed on January 23, 2015 .
  4. Award (IMDB). IMDB, accessed January 23, 2015 .