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Cannes is right!,
This review is from: Rosetta/La Promesse [DVD]  (DVD)
The Dardenne brothers have had a lot of success at Cannes which has led to most of their films getting a cinema release in this country, although not Le Silence de Lorna, as far as I'm aware, nor, for the time being, the latest, Le Gamin au velo. They really are wonderful directors and use film with such integrity, being only concerned with essential truths and not compromising their vision in any way to make it more 'entertaining'. I think of them as the inheritors of the Bresson style, there is such a concern with the truths you cannot see, yet the style is rooted in the concrete physical reality of the characters' daily lives. There is no music (except a few bars just at the end of Le Silence de Lorna). I also love the way they focus on people who do not usually get a voice outside of soap operas, but here the tone is very much not that. Rosetta is, in many ways, not particularly likeable, but it is this refusal to sentimentalise her that makes her so challenging. I was really shocked by the way she treats a young man who tries to help her, but the ending manages to leave you with a sense of incredible insight and compassion that the directors bring us to. It is the same in La Promesse, although here the boy is much more sympathetic to start with. His dilemma and moral path couldn't be more movingly shown, and the film also draws attention to the plight of illegal immigrants and the circumstances of their lives. I found the father/son dynamic to be one of the most powerful I have ever seen on screen, which is also due to Olivier Gourmet and the fantastic Jeremie Renier in his first role in a Dardenne film. He has since acted in a number of others, always brilliantly. But this can already be seen in the teenage role he takes on here. The film is phenomenal in its analysis and emotional reach.