DVD L'Enfant (DVD 29690),
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Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne present another uncompromising, emotionally devastating depiction of human struggle with THE CHILD. Winner of the Palme d'Or at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival (their second, after 1999's ROSETTA), the film opens just as 20-year-old Bruno (Jeremie Renier) and his 18-year-old girlfriend Sonia (Deborah Francois) have welcomed their first child into the world. A small-time crook with no big-time leads, Bruno decides to sneak away with his son, Jimmy, and sell him for a hefty chunk of money. But when he tries to justify his actions to Sonia, assuring her that they'll have another baby, she collapses in shock. While she recuperates in the hospital, Bruno realizes that he's made a horrendous mistake, and embarks on an impassioned quest to get his son back and redeem himself to Sonia.
As in their other fictional feature films, the Dardennes use handheld cinematography, realistic acting, and a music-free soundtrack to create a poetically heightened sense of reality. The result is a supremely humane work of art. Featuring another powerful performance from frequent Dardennes collaborator Renier, THE CHILD also boasts an unforgettable performance from newcomer Franois, who fills the screen with an honesty rarely seen.
- Brief language
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 15069
Jrmie Rnier, Jeremie Renier, Fabrizio Rongione, Olivier Gourmet, Deborah Francois
"THE CHILD maintains the near miraculous achievement of brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne in creating uncompromisingly powerful, minimalist, neorealist, humanist cinema for the 21st century."
Sight and Sound
4 stars out of 5 -- "[It's the] sparseness of visual style, compounded by two effortlessly naturalistic performances, that give the movie an inimitable air of social and cinematic honesty."
"[I]t should be emphasized how coolly detailed is the social network, the finely observed web of connections, interactions, and transactions, that produces the film's dramatic reversals."
3.5 stars out of 4 -- "L'ENFANT is a forceful, impassioned and unsparing triumph....Renier and Francois give deeply affecting performances..."
"The Dardennes know how to build a scene for maximum tension....The Dardennes' background in documentary also partly explains their astonishing visual style."
New York Times
4 stars out of 4 -- "For all its seeming simplicity, this is an emotionally and intellectually complex film that holds the viewer in a grip as tight as any classic thriller you can name."
4 stars out of 5 -- "[The film has] seedy urban locations, fluid, handheld camerawork and some intense character observation."
"[D]isturbingly quiet..." -- Grade: A-
Included in Premiere's "10 Best Movies Of The Year" -- "[The] Dardennes' most compact, powerful drama of sin and redemption yet."
Ranked #4 in Film Comment's "20 Best Films Of 2006."
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