Roger uses his son Igor to ruthlessly traffic and exploit undocumented immigrants. When one of the immigrants is killed, Igor is guilt-ridden and wants to care for the dead man's family against his father's orders.
16 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Jérémie Renier ... Igor
Olivier Gourmet ... Roger
Assita Ouedraogo ... Assita
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jean-Michel Balthazar ... Les inspecteurs du travail
Frédéric Bodson Frédéric Bodson ... The garage boss
Katarzyna Chrzanowska
Florian Delain ... Riri
Jean-Paul Dermont Jean-Paul Dermont ... Muller
Hachemi Haddad Hachemi Haddad ... Nabil
Alain Holtgen Alain Holtgen ... Le postier
Geneviève Joly-Provost Geneviève Joly-Provost ... Geneviève
Rifi Kythouka ... Le devin
Sophia Leboutte Sophia Leboutte ... Maria
Christiane Mutshimuana Christiane Mutshimuana ... Rosalie
Rasmané Ouédraogo ... Amidou (as Rasmane Ouedraogo)


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 undocumented 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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #620. See more »


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 »


Referenced in Zingo (1998) See more »

User Reviews

Another Dardenne Brothers Masterpiece
9 June 2006 | by omalley-brendanSee all my reviews

The performance of Jérémie Renier is memorable. (He's also great in L'infant). The Dardennes are obviously influenced by Robert Bresson and have a similar interest in use of realistic sound, and observation of everyday tasks. They especially like workshops, and woodworking tools. Like Bresson, they eschew incidental music and produce a very naturalistic view of events. And they do it so well. This film will remain in your conscience for a long time after you have seen it, and should satisfy those who need a resolution and a conclusion in their movies, by offering at least an answer to one "will he - won't he?" dilemma.

These guys are making some of the best cinema of the present era.

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Belgium | France | Luxembourg | Tunisia


French | Romanian

Release Date:

16 May 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Promise See more »

Filming Locations:

Belgium See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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