Dardenne duo move Cannes with boyhood tale of loss

Sun May 15, 2011 8:35am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Nick Vinocur

CANNES, France (Reuters) - Boyhood loss and the redeeming power of love stirred crowds at Cannes with "The Kid With a Bike," a film about a boy on a desperate search for his father by festival favorites Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne.

The Belgian directors, brothers who have won the top Palme d'Or prize at the Cannes film festival twice before, looked well-placed in the competition lineup this year as the audience broke out in lengthy applause at the end of a screening on Saturday evening.

Shot in an anonymous Belgian city, "The Kid With a Bike" tells the story of Cyril, a feisty red-headed boy of 12 who breaks free from his orphanage to find the father who left him there with a promise to come back for him a month later.

As Cyril pedals furiously around suburban Belgium on his bicycle, refusing to accept that his father has lied, he is taken into the care of Samantha, a childless hairdresser played by Belgian actress Cecile de France.

"We could have called the film a modern fairy tale ... a Pinocchio or Red Riding Hood who gets lost and has to go through certain trials," said Jean-Pierre Dardenne. "He has to lose the illusion that his father still wants to see him."

Subtle and understated, the Dardennes' film brings together some of the ingredients that made their two previous winners -- "Rosetta" in 1999 and "L'Enfant" in 2005" -- popular with a Cannes jury: realism, emotional complexity and no easy endings.

"It's sort of a love story, about the love of a woman who is able to overcome the violence and anger of this boy," said Luc Dardenne.

CHILDHOOD TRAUMA CAPTIVATES The Dardenne brothers' movie falls in line with a series of films in competition at Cannes that have focused, unflinchingly, on childhood trauma and the horror of adults who abuse and mistreat children they have stolen from others.   Continued...

<p>(L-R) Directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne pose with cast members Thomas Doret and Cecile De France during a photocall for the film "Le Gamin au velo" in competition at the 64th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, May 15, 2011. REUTERS/Yves Herman</p>