The Kid With A Bike

There are some very consistently distinctive things about the Dardenne Brothers’ films. They are about recognisably ‘ordinary’ working-class people; they are usually about inter-generational relationships; they deal with ethical (and psychological) issues in such a way that people often describe them, rightly or wrongly, as somehow concerned with ‘redemption’; they fall, for all their apparent documentary-like naturalism, into three fairly clear ‘acts’; and – perhaps most distinctive of all – they often feel, for one reason or another, a little... well, unremarkable for the first 20 minutes or so. Then something happens which makes you realize you’re watching something very special indeed. It’s not as if the situation here is exactly original: a troubled 12-year-old, reluctantly living in a home since his father abandoned him without leaving any forwarding details (let alone the titular promised bicycle), meets and is shown sympathy and understanding by a hairdresser, who finds herself having to deal not only with the kid’s own capacity for violence but with the temptations put in his way by a local gang leader. To anyone familiar with the Dardennes’ relatively small but very substantial body of work, this might sound as if it’s going over old ground – and maybe it is, but it’s still producing fresh and extremely fruitful results.
Belgium France Italy

Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne

Alain Marcoen

Marie Helene Dozo

Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne (Les Films du Fleuve)

Cécile de France
Fabrizio Rongione
Jeremie renier
Thomas Doret

Jury Grand Prize Cannes

17th Festival on Wheels