Saturday, March 03, 2007


L'Enfant (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2006) [6]
It's interesting that the title plays such a dual role in this film; it can be seen literally about the baby that Bruno and Sonia have to care for, or the way I see it, it really describes the character of Bruno himself. The Dardenne brothers focus the film squarely on his shoulders, focusing on a character that is still stuck in an arrested adolescence and is forced to now have to care for a child himself. Formally, the brothers focus on the daily existence of the characters, painting a sociological picture that can create a situation where a character like Bruno would consider selling his newborn son the same as try to sell a stolen camera. The baby itself doesn't quite come across for me as a real character; it never cries or seems to need anything. While that may not be such an important point for the Dardennes as their focus isn't on the baby, to me it leaves something lacking. From an aesthetic standpoint, the film does a very good job of expressing a certain setting, and I really like how the brothers spend a lot of time showing Bruno and Sonia pushing the stroller around. Visually, the film is very much in tune with what it wants to say. Emotionally, I can't really say the same thing. The Dardennes have stated this is a love story, but with the exception of the last scene, I don't see it. That scene has to much compassion in it for a film for the most of it, keeps its distance emotionally. I felt that the Bruno character was too cold and calculating, only concerned with getting money. For him to have a revelation by being placed in jail muddles what was a solid film, but by no means a masterpiece as some critics have done.

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