NYFF wrote: The Dardenne Brothers won this year’s Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival for this brave new work, another intimate portrayal-in-furious-motion of a protagonist in crisis. The filmmakers’ radical empathy alights on a Muslim teenager (extraordinary first-time actor Idir Ben Addi) in a small Belgian town who is being gradually radicalized into extremism despite the desperate protestations of his single mother (Claire Bodson), and who winds up hatching a murderous plot targeting his beloved teacher (Myriem Akheddiou). Taking a serious view of a difficult issue—the effect of fanaticism on the body and soul—the Dardennes here remind viewers why they continue to be at the center of 21st-century cinema. Read More »
Quote: The film opens with a chaotic scene: Rosetta (Emilie Dequenne), dismissed from her station after her employment trial period has elapsed, refuses to leave the factory, and is escorted off the premises by security guards. Shot through a handheld camera, the confusion seems to continue as we follow Rosetta as she crosses a busy intersection, makes her way through the woods, changes into her water-repellent boots that she hides in an exposed concrete pipe, and returns to her rented trailer home that she shares with her alcoholic mother (Anne Yernaux). It is a bleak life, and one that she desperately wants to escape. If she could only find a job. But Rosetta is a resourceful young woman, and remains undeterred by the latest setback. She returns to town with a bagful of repaired clothes to be sold to the local thrift store, and canvasses local merchants for job openings. Riquet (Fabrizio Rongione), a waffle vendor, takes interest in Rosetta, and when the food preparer is fired for absenteeism, he encourages her to apply. However, the job proves temporary as well, as the owner (Olivier Gourmet) is compelled to hire his own son. Without any new prospects, she sacrifices her friendship with Riquet to obtain a job. Read More »
Just before twilight, a four-engine plane lands on the runway of a country airport. The plane comes to a halt. A single passenger disembarks: Joe, the last survivor of a Jewish family, the Falsches. He has an appointment with them all tonight, forty years after leaving Berlin for New York in 1938. They are all waiting for him in the arrival lounge of the airport. A night of encounters, of celebrations beyond life and death; a meeting which will soon turn into a family psychodrama.Thirteen people will confront each other about their links to Germany, their life in exile, the presence of Lilli among the Falsches; the cries of anguish in the face of death in the camps, incomprehensible to those who went into exile, the Berlin of today, where nobody remembers the Falsches – not even Joe, who would prefer to forget, and never see them again. Read More »
Plot Synopsis by Jason Buchanan
After learning he has a newborn son, a small-time thief attempts to go straight – but not until his amorality is pushed to its breaking point – in this social-problem drama from writer-directors Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne. Eighteen-year-old Sonia (DÈborah Francois) has just given birth to a baby boy. The baby’s father Bruno (JÈrÈmie Renier) is panhandling in the street when Sonia tracks him down, and he shows little interest in fathering the child, or even providing a roof over the heads of the fledgling family. As the new and inexperienced mother navigates the bleak industrial landscape of the small Belgian town they live in, Bruno falls in with a clandestine group that buys and sells healthy children on the black market. He tragically learns that one avaricious decision, made in an instant, can affect the lives of everyone in his orbit. Read More »
Abandoned by his father, a young boy is left in the hands of an unqualified childcare provider.
The Kid with a Bike (French: Le Gamin au vélo) is a 2011 drama film written and directed by the Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, starring Cécile de France and Thomas Doret. Set in Seraing, it tells the story of an 11-year-old boy who turns to a woman after his father has abandoned him. The film was produced through companies in Belgium, France and Italy. While it does not deviate from the naturalistic style of the Dardenne brothers’ earlier works, a brighter aesthetic than usual was employed, and the screenplay had a structure inspired by fairytales. Unusually for a film by the directors it also uses music. It premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and won the festival’s Grand Prix. Read More »