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Ex Drummer

Montreal Premiere

WINNER: Best First Feature (Gold), Fantasia Film Festival

WINNER: Jury Prize for Best Debut Feature, Raindance Film Festival
WINNER: Special Jury Award, Warsaw International Film Festival

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"Mortier gives Gaspar Noé a run for his money in this bizarre, horribly violent and frequently brilliant black comedy: a melange of IRREVÉRSIBLE, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, MAN BITES DOG and THIS IS SPINAL TAP" - Peter Bradshaw, THE GUARDIAN


Director: Koen Mortier
Screenplay: Koen Mortier, from Herman Brusselmans
Cast: Dries Van Hegen, Norman Baert, Sam Louwyck, Gunter Lamoot
Producers: Ruben Goots, Eurydice Gysel, Koen Mortier
Distributor: Tartan


A blast of pure adrenaline and a hard kick to the nuts, EX DRUMMER is the most grueling and exhilarating debut film released in recent memory, a film that immediately establishes Belgium’s Koen Mortier as a fierce, visionary talent with the potential to become one of the world’s true greats. Do we love this film around here? Hell, yes. But your mother would probably hate it.

Based on a popular cult novel, it tells the story of Dries, a successful author approached by a band of down-and-outers who want him to join up and drum for them for one gig only, an upcoming battle of the bands. The catch? The band is built around the gimmick of each of the band members having some sort of disability—their signature tune is a scorching cover of Devo’s “Mongoloid.” The lead singer, a violent misogynist, has a serious lisp. The bassist hasn’t been able to bend his right elbow since his mother surprised him while masturbating in his teen years. The guitar player is a half-deaf junkie who leaves his infant daughter to play in filth. Dries has no such disability. He takes the gig purely on a lark, seeing in the band fodder for his future work, but as he engages in his slum tourism, it becomes clear that Dries is the most severely crippled of them all.

Immensely vulgar, shockingly violent, deeply politically incorrect, EX DRUMMER is a powerfully raw piece of work, one that picks mercilessly at the scab covering its lead’s spiritual disease, one that brutally confronts the passive middle class with the harsh word that they are, in fact, worse off than the coarse, crude masses they so easily dismiss and look down upon. It is a bruising experience not easily forgotten.

—Todd Brown