Reflecting on this brought to mind the possibly overused word 'riveting'. Hadn't seen priors by the Dardenne's; that might account for my mystification. Where were they going with this? Received numerous best film awards. Turan went beyond 'memorable' to 'unforgettable'.
This is good dramatic action driven film about an immature homeless couple in their late teens who just had a baby. The quest for cash is relentless: subletting their own flat, getting fourteen year olds to burgle for them (well, him), and ultimately, selling his own child ("I thought we could make another one."). About half of the film is about the consequences of his getting the child back, the quest for cash being reinvigorated. It ends with a modicum of redemption.
From the start it is clear that the Dardenne brothers are not interested in portraying their protagonists as anything more than a pair of clueless adolescents playing the role of grown-ups without any of the insights, responsibilities or sense of perspective that comes with age. The girl's nascent mothering instincts see her fussing protectively over the baby as if he were a cherished doll while the boy's childish horseplay and inability to appreciate the consequences of his actions cause one to question exactly who the “child” of the film’s title refers to. Shot in dreary earth tones against backdrops of garbage-strewn embankments and homeless shelters, "L’enfant’s" lack of cinematic dressing and musical soundtrack gives it the gritty feel of a “Dogme 95” work right up to its emotionally charged finale where our juvenile parents take their first painful step towards adulthood. An unhappy slice of life which bypasses sensationalism in favour of blunt honesty.
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Another great film by the Dardenne brothers examining life in the margins.
A tough but extremely meaningful and searching film, genuinely moving.
The Dardenne brothers write about people as they are, there is no glamour. That divorces them in style and presentation from virtually everything that is made in the U.S., so they are an acquired taste. They write for adults, the themes are very mature.
They are not depressing, they are bracing, they clear the crap out of the way. This film, as do others they've done, goes on the track of core exploration of human values and how values often are hard for individuals to identify within themselves, ---untli they corrode meaning, and even imperil existence
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