Abandoned by his father, a young boy is left in a state-run youth farm. In a random act of kindness, the town hair-dresser agrees to foster him on week-ends.Abandoned by his father, a young boy is left in a state-run youth farm. In a random act of kindness, the town hair-dresser agrees to foster him on week-ends.Abandoned by his father, a young boy is left in a state-run youth farm. In a random act of kindness, the town hair-dresser agrees to foster him on week-ends.
The story is simple and organic, the kid initially breaking out of foster care to find his father, and his bike both of which give him some identity and purpose in the world. He befriends several characters along the way (and in the Dardennes films, the characters are few, but all play vital roles) including the benevolent Samantha (whom I thought was very sweet but perhaps too pretty - and talented - to play a working- class hairdresser). Some characters are good (Samantha), some not so (Wes) and some have their own agendas to make a living.
In this way, the film is not unlike (and I quote the Dardennes) a fairytale - the boy (hero) on quest in the wide world which various characters and dangers lurking, yet set in this ultra realistic (read social-realist) setting.
The style of film-making here is pure and simple in that social-realist style, simply presenting characters who live on the fringe of society; who live in poor social economic conditions or don't have the opportunity of good schooling or the genuine love of a mother or father. As a result it is perhaps a little easier to understand why Cyril acts the way he does, rebelling against society, trying to find his place in the world. As you watch perhaps keep in mind what you might do to make ends meet.
The kid is astounding in a first-time performance, he conveys so much frustration, anger, pathos, regret with just glances and looks, most of the screen time without dialogue. Just watch the sequences when he is cycling on his bike, utterly free, chasing (or escaping) his life as the master of his own destiny.
This is a very simple & heartfelt tale, it tells the story as it is with no artifice, shot in the gorgeous dappled sunlight of a Belgian summer. It is not as hard-hitting and gritty as other of the Dardennes' films, such as emotional sledgehammers like Rosetta, Le Fils & L'Infant, but, it is still very good.
- Mar 31, 2012