I disagree. I mean with them not with your analysis of them. I think for a generation or two, maybe a century, families, cultures, nations, can retain the values embedded into infrastructures without espousing or believing the underlying ideologies of those infrastructures, but ultimately the dissonance between the the structures and the prevalent, current belief systems will be too great.
Comparison is a useful rhetorical mode, but it has varying functions. One can compare to evaluate, and it sounds like this is what you object to. (After comparing the two films, I voted for...)
One can also compare to describe. Reviews are weird rhetorical situation because, you will be talking to some people who know more about the subject than you do and others who know much less (i.e. haven't seen the film). I just had someone ask me, not five minutes ago, whether she should pay to see The King of Staten Island. I had no way of answering that question without reference to comparison. (How did she feel about the other Apatow films? What did she normally like, etc.)
To discuss or even evaluate a film on its own terms must mean something more than in complete isolation, because the latter isn't possible. (I'm now rehearsing the generational debate between Reader-response critics and New Critics.) The musical artists who covers a classic pop hit, records a beloved classical melody, or samples an R&B track, cannot be understood without reference to comparison. Ironically, I asked in my review of First Reformed whether any work that was so self-consciously derivative could be considered great in its own right. My answer is yes, it could.
As far as the Dardennes, by setting all their films in the same place, by repeating certain themes or plot devices, aren't they inviting (perhaps requiring) us to look at the films not as isolated artifacts but as, in some necessary way, in dialogue with each other? I thought much more about Rosetta during Young Ahmed than I did about The Son, because...
Well before I finish that thought, a tangent. As a teacher and critic, one of the things that drives me a little nuts is are Reader-response critics who just give their own response and stop, as though that it is it. Who record their reactions. I liked it. I didn't. It was a masterpiece. It sucked. No interrogation of their own response, no attempts to understand it. Just a position to be defended dogmatically. On the undergraduate level that just gets reduced to and manifested as, "Well it's all just opinion and this is mine...." The helpful critic is the one who reflects, and I'm more capable of enjoying subsequent films -- and picking films that wil satisfy me -- if I am able to think through what caused my response. Especially if my response was surprising to me or counter to prevailing wisdom. What makes me find Lady Bird shrill or Tree of Life trite and new agey when so many people I know love them? Why do I find First Reformed less pessimistic than Bergman's faith trilogy when the consensus seems just the opposite? Either these responses are grounded in some formal feature of the films that are being read and misread differently, or they are grounded in different responses to ambiguous features caused by our reading situations and interpretive communities.
...like Rosetta, Young Ahmed focuses on the youthful, unlikable offender. It seems to me like The Son and The Kid with a Bike focus more on the effects of the intervening adults whereas in Rosetta and YA, those figures are present but marginalized in comparison to a peer who is more effective. Also, as I mentioned, there were some shots (like the opening shot of protagonist running and shots in the woods, crossing the highway) that specifically reminded me of Rosetta. I've been reading and discussing The Left Hand of Darkness with my book club and we've had come chatter about "thought experiments." I opined that a true "experiment" has only one variable, which is nearly impossible in fiction. So while I see some similarities between YA and Rosetta, I also see some differences: gender, religion, climax in suicidal intentions vs. murderous intentions. My purpose in making these comparisons is to help me (or others) think through how they affect my response to the films, not just to bolster an argument that one is better than the other.