7.9/10
5,415
26 user 56 critic

La Promesse (1996)

La promesse (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 16 May 1997 (USA)
Roger uses his son Igor to ruthlessly traffic and exploit illegal aliens. When one of the aliens is killed, Igor is guilt-ridden and wants to care for the dead man's family against his father's orders.

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16 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Igor
...
Roger
Assita Ouedraogo ...
Assita
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jean-Michel Balthazar
Frédéric Bodson ...
The garage boss
Katarzyna Chrzanowska
Florian Delain ...
Riri
Hachemi Haddad ...
Nabil
Alain Holtgen ...
Le postier
Geneviève Joly-Provost ...
Geneviève
Sophia Leboutte
Rasmané Ouédraogo ...
Amidou (as Rasmane Ouedraogo)
Norbert Rutili
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Storyline

Igor--a 15-year-old apprentice mechanic--spends his off hours at the beck and call of his father. Igor's father, Roger, is a low-life involved with smuggling illegal immigrants into Belgium, and acts as their slumlord, housing them in barely livable conditions, and paying them menial wages to work construction on his building (among other scams). When the building inspector pays a surprise visit and Amidou falls off a scaffold in his hurry to hide, things start to unravel, particularly when Igor makes a promise to the injured Amidou that ultimately exposes the different values of Igor and Roger, and of Amidou's wife, Assita. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| | |

Language:

|

Release Date:

16 May 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La Promesse  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$21,220 (USA) (16 May 1997)

Gross:

$454,720 (USA) (25 July 1997)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

An hour and 4 minutes into the film (NTSC) when Assita asks Igor to pour some water onto her hair - the sound of water hitting the ground comes before the water is actually seen hitting the ground. See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Small Masterpiece
7 July 1999 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

La Promesse is one of the best films of this decade. With its simple style and character-driven plot, one may think that the film comes from one of the Dogma 95 manifesto directors but it doesn't. The film's strengths lie in its theme of morality and responsibility and in its no-nonsense portrayal of the immigrant situation in Belgium (with reverberations reaching all across Europe). One can say that it's a coming-of-age tale--and in some ways it is--but when one thinks of the usual film categorized as such, the moniker doesn't match. Even the scene where Igor is being seduced by an older woman, while his father and his father's girlfriend look on, has no follow-up, no clumsy bedroom scene where we see Igor lose his virginity. The film makers just cut from the seduction scene in the bar to Igor the next morning back to his "job" at the dilapidated building site. Clearly, the directors are unconcerned with the staples of the "coming-of-age" genre. More precisely, I think it should be called a "coming-of-conscience" film. The final scene is at the same time heartbreaking and thought-provoking. The way they end the movie is a masterstroke because it forces the viewer to ponder what will come next, thus prompting self-reflective questions on what the viewer himself or herself would have chosen to do.


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