A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.
Thomas Bo Larsen,
Igor and his father, Roger, are making a decent living renting apartments to illegal immigrants and sometimes working them illegally (among other scams). But when the building inspector ... See full summary »
Sokol and Lorna, two Albanian emigrants in Belgium, dream of leaving their dreary jobs to set up a snack bar. They need money, and a permanent resident status. Claudy is a junkie - he needs... See full summary »
Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple's bond of love is severely tested.
A man wanders out of the desert after a four year absence. His brother finds him, and together they return to L.A. to reunite the man with his young son. Soon after, he and the boy set out ... See full summary »
Harry Dean Stanton,
A married couple are faced with a difficult decision - to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer's disease.
Olivier - meticulous, careful, even-handed - teaches carpentry at a vocational school in Liège. He's asked to take on Francis, 16, a new student. He declines the request then begins to watch, even spy on, the new lad. Olivier knows something. Later that day, he's visited by Magali, his ex-wife, who tells him that she's remarrying and is pregnant. Olivier seems to follow instinctive responses: "why today?" he demands of Magali; he continues to follow Francis; he changes his mind about enrolling the youth. What's the history between the two? After that becomes clear, what is it Olivier will do? Is this precise and measured carpenter in control of himself? Written by
How do you make a film to capture the mindset of a stalker; or of an uncertain individual, sizing up an unknown enemy? The Dardenne brothers' solution in this movie is to shoot almost the entire film over the shoulder of its principal protagonist, giving the audience the same view, the same sideways glances and stolen observations, as the character. It's effective, but it doesn't make this the easiest movie to watch: at times it feels that everything you want to see is deliberately left out of shot. A film about a pair of fairly non-communicative people, it also contains almost no expository dialogue, so we are left to guess what each of them are feeling from their actions: in fact, as well as being terse or even silent, the characters are arguably people who don't really know what to feel any more. The film is thus an effective look at the bleakness of life in extreme circumstances, but again, this doesn't make it easy to relate to. The unusual method does bring some dividends: at first, it one thinks this will be a movie about a pervert, a mistake that owes everything to clichéd thinking and nothing to surprising honesty the directors and cast bring to this movie. In a sense, it's a film about the possibility of revenge, but with a more awkward, truthful and ultimately humane take on this notion than any you are likely to find in Hollywood. It's an interesting film, therefore, and deserving of praise; but not particularly fun to see.
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