Dutch playwright and filmmaker Frisch generated controversy in his homeland with this, his first dramatic feature film, which inspired catcalls and walk-outs during its premier screenings at the 2001 Rotterdam Film Festival. Focusing on the tormented and often pathetic lives of an aging alcoholic, his disturbed girlfriend, and her handicapped former husband, Vergeef Me incorporates a cast of non-professionals, many of whom are homeless and physically or mentally challenged and are allowed to follow their baser impulses in front of the camera. Based in part on a play by Frisch entitled +Jesus/Lover, Vergeef Me was begun as a short film, in which the director hopes to shock the audience with his treatment of his cast; when viewers instead reacted with approval, Frisch opted to flesh the film out to feature length and take the material in an even stronger direction. Vergeef Me also includes clips from F.W. Murnau's classic silent adaptation of +Faust.
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