Wednesday, October 26, 2016

5 Films: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne

The Kid With the Bike movie posterBy Kenny Howell

Moving into the modern era today, we will look at my five favorite films from the Belgian directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne.

5. The Son (2002) - A carpentry instructor turns down enrolling a new teenage student, but begins to follow him and observe his life. The two share a mysterious connection, which the Dardennes unfold in their usual, simple, majestic way.

4. Two Days, One Night (2014) - Marion Cotillard stars as a woman who must go to her co-workers and beg for them to vote for her to keep her job. Typical Dardenne tragedy, well-acted by the terrific Cotillard.

3. Lorna's Silence (2008) - An Albanian immigrant is trying to piece together a life in Belgium, but her junkie boyfriend is struggling to survive.

2. La Promesse (1996) - An early performance by the excellent Jeremie Renier, who played the junkie boyfriend in Lorna's Silence above. He plays a teenager named Igor who traffics immigrants into Belgium, but also takes advantage of them in the process. When one of the immigrants die, Igor changes his tune, but his father will not let him walk away from it.

1. The Kid With a Bike (2011) - Still think about this movie, which I picked as the best film of 2011. It is the Dardennes at their best - simple, insightful and tragic. This one is about a boy that is abandoned by his father (played by an older Renier), and has to live in a youth farm. A local hairdresser takes him in on the weekends to give him some semblance of a loving home. The key to the film is Thomas Douret, the kid of the title. His desperation to get his father's love is so incredibly heartbreaking.

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