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 »
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 »
Sandra, a young Belgian mother, discovers that her workmates have opted for a significant pay bonus, in exchange for her dismissal. She has only one weekend to convince her colleagues to give up their bonuses so that she can keep her job.
Put in charge of his young son, Alain leaves Belgium for Antibes to live with his sister and her husband as a family. Alain's bond with Stephanie, a killer whale trainer, grows deeper after Stephanie suffers a horrible accident.
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.
Strange events happen in a small village in the north of Germany during the years just before World War I, which seem to be ritual punishment. The abused and suppressed children of the villagers seem to be at the heart of this mystery.
At about 11, the stubborn and impulsive Cyril seems on his way to delinquency: he has no mother, his father wants a new life without him, so he's in a foster institution. He searches for his father, wanting him and his bike. Through the intersession of Samantha, a hairdresser Cyril happens upon, he gets his bike back, and she offers to take him into her home on weekends. He remains aloof from her and gets involved with a young crook. Is Cyril intent on driving Samantha away - and what then? Written by
The script was structured with a fairytale in mind, where the boy would lose his illusions and Samantha would appear as a fairy-like figure. See more »
When the hairdresser is leaving the orphanage after she returned Cyrill's bike the car she iss driving makes the sound of Diesel engine, but in the next scene with the same car the car sounds like it has a petrol engine. See more »
Greetings again from the darkness. When Guy (Jeremie Renier) states that he can't take care of his son Cyril (Thomas Douret) right now, I felt a rush of anger and disgust. Imagine if you were his 11 year old son hearing those words. Young kids should be able to count on their parents for emotional security above all else. There should be no fear of abandonment ... those are issues no child should be forced to deal with (barring a natural disaster).
The Belgium writer/director team of brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have a history of taking on parenthood and childhood in a head-on manner. Cyril is dumped in an orphanage by his dad, and is convinced that he is just misplaced, not abandoned. So being the fiercely determined kid he is, he re-traces his steps from coffee shops to bars to their old apartment. Cyril is convinced his dad never would have sold his treasured bicycle, no matter how desperate for money he was.
Whatever confusion and hostility that you think Cyril might experience, once he confronts his dad, the filmmakers display it in the rawest possible form. Cyril is a symbol of need, hiding behind a wall of rebellion. A chance encounter with Samantha (Cecile de France) leads to weekend visitations and the start of an awkward quasi-family life for both of them. Cyril tests Samantha and all other authority figures in every possible manner, often to the breaking point.
As a parent, it's easy to spot the vulnerabilities that a child faces before they have the maturity to handle it. We see how easily Cyril falls in with the wrong crowd and how quickly things can get really bad. Luckily for Cyril, Samantha doesn't abandon him. She answers "I don't know" to his question of why she let him stay with her. Although, the filmmakers never let us in on her deepest thoughts, we suspect she was once not all so different than Cyril, and someone stepped up for her.
This film won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes in 2011 and it's easy to see how. It shows how difficult and messy ordinary life can be, but how often things turn out OK, though rarely perfect. Film lovers will recognize Cecile de France from her many films, including the recent Hereafter and the excellent Mesrine.
14 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?