Each of these films placed at #7 or higher in the year of its release. (#7 because 100 films divided…
Bruno and Sonia, a young couple living off her benefit and the thefts committed by his gang, have a new source of money: their newborn son.
Another depressing slice of realism courtesy of the brilliant Dardenne bros.
I feel as if I've been using the word 'heartbreaking' to describe too many films recently, so when I sat down to write this brief review, I promised myself I wouldn't use that word, even though this film is heartbreaking. Oops.
While not my favorite Dardennes film (that honor belongs to Rosetta), this is a an excellent, bleak portrait of babies having a baby. We see the young teenage couple struggling to survive the trials and tribulations that come with having a child, but it must be said they don't do a very good job at it. They are both deadbeat parents, of sorts, as becomes evident over the…
I couldn't help noticing that Bruno's cellphone ringtone is a foreshadowing of the unavoidably downwards spiral released as a brutal chain of consequences of crime leadership and baby trafficking in the streets of Belgium, and that the next time we heard it, we would hear it for a longer period of time than the previous one, perhaps signalling that wrong decisions were still being done.
In a faithless world devoid of Christ where people attempt to find resources with their own means and strength, the absorbing minimalism and relentless realism of the Dardenne brothers convey a sense of deep emotions, tension, love, romance, crime, danger and persecutions. It is, at its core, a moral wake-up-call tale for people to have…
Bruno: ''Only fuckers work.''
A wonderful revisit of this Dardenne bros. 'coming of age' tale which sees the titular child Bruno discover his conscience through his destructive actions - essentially uncovering his heart. A harsh and often uncomfortable snapshot of realism bolstered by a non-judgmental Directorial eye and some bold performances.
More than anything else, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's L'Enfant highlights the subtle difference between a moral movie and a moralizing one. The action of this film is predicated entirely upon the moral (or amoral) choices of its characters, but the filmmakers are so careful not to interject their own commentary or to make any larger statements about human nature that the result is something far more powerful and profound than condescendingly saying "X is good, Y is bad." The Dardennes simply point the camera at their story and say "this is what it is."
It tells the story of Bruno, a callous and immature petty thief who exists at the very bottom of Belgian society. We first see him through…
Part of Lise and Jonnie’s What A Wonderful World: May 30 days, 30 countries.
I think I have a particular allergy to the Dardanne Brothers.
I dropped into this morning’s screening of the Palm D’Or winning L’Enfant oblivious to the fact that it was a Dardanne. I saw the critical darling Kid with a Bike a few years ago at TIFF and pretty much hated it.
As L’Enfant unfolded, I began to feel that same revulsion. I was well rested, not in a bad mood, just open to what was unfolding but I HATED the titular Enfant Terrible Bruno. Now, I’m sure wiser film lovers would say ‘that’s the point’. Well, not for me. The opening few scenes of his…
[Originally published by Las Vegas Weekly.]
Even if you were to watch L'Enfant (The Child) with the sound turned off and the subtitles removed, you'd quickly realize that there's no conceivable way it could have been made in America. It's not that the characters come across as stereotypically European—neither Bruno (Jérémie Renier), the young, towheaded petty thief at its center, nor Sonia (Déborah François), his moon- and whey-faced girlfriend, spends any time sipping espressos in sidewalk cafés, both of them being too preoccupied with moment-to-moment survival. Nor does the small, dingy factory town of Seraing, where Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (La Promesse, Rosetta, The Son) invariably shoot, look all that different from, say, the crummier sections of…
The Dardenne brothers are so great at making me cry.
There's one word I could use to describe this film and its probably the only word needed to describe this film: REAL Of course a film like this is worthy of much more than just one word.
In the usual bleak yet continuously enthralling style of the two Belgian masters, we follow a young couple, barely over their teenage years who live a sober little life. They survive with the help of their welfare checks and some minor petty crimes. When the girl, Sonia, gives birth to a child, their life gets a lot harder. The trouble of finding enough money to eat, sleep and take care of their newborn son is a harrowing one but they stay as happy…
The Dardennes capture street-level magic in a really interesting way; it's not alluring or captivating, or poetic, it's just kind of real. This being their third film for me I'm starting to gain a better understanding of their craft but their material leaves me wanting. I always find myself at an arm's length to the emotion in their films. It's not sentimental enough to draw me in nor is clinical enough to make me feel comfortable being at distance. Although The Child certainly made leeway, drawing me in toward the end.
Not the best Dardenne brothers film I've seen but the rawness they are able to capture, something that is ever present in their films, is second to none. The way they tell their stories is near flawless. They make believable films about people we can connect with because they are ordinary people like you and I. They don't use cheap cinematic techniques. They just point the camera and let the the story unfold for it's self.
The titular "child" (or anyway, one of them) is supremely rational, and his portrayal in the film is played with complete consistency. By commodifying a life with nary a concern about any non-financial consequences, the character shows that he can only see everything in economic terms and only be impressed, excited, or worried about anything based on its prospects of monetary flow or lack thereof. (This is only slightly reductive, since he has a breakdown at one point on account of hunger, and his willingness to blow what money he has on "fun" shows that money is literally never the ultimate end in itself, even for a character like him.) Naked rationality and the demotion of any thing's essence devoid…
Absolutely loved 25% of this film.
Absolutely despised 75% of this film.
At the end of L'Infant, I knew I had seen a good movie, but it isn't until now thinking a little more about the nature of its characters and its conclusion that I like it a little more. But saying 'like it a little more' may be a bit much, as this is a rather depressing story, as much akin to Robert Bresson films (as other critics have noted) as to neo-realist films (with some differences). The filmmakers, winners of the Golden Palm for this work, are about as matter of fact with these people as can be made possible, and its catharsis, at first maybe a given, is touching considering what else has transpired.
The story just deals with…
Overweight, loveless, wood paneling, empty parking lots, basements, loners, madness, sadness, isolation, depression, fantasy, eccentric, filth, sleaze...
Charlie Kaufman, Todd…
Complete list. :-(