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I bought the new issue of Paste on Saturday and was treated to Doug's interview with the Dardennes and his write-up on L'ENFANT. Nice work.

Insight, courtesy of Ted Baehr:

:spoilers:

L

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I was thinking about this, and by all rights, Christians and Americans generally should be selling out all showings of this film. First, we Christians are absolute suckers for redemption stories of all types. This is like Johnny Cash to the tenth power.

Interesting. I'd watch L'Enfant again in a heartbeat, Walk the Line not so quickly (probably the only time you'll see those two films named in the same sentence).

I loved the movie, but struggled some with it, particularly with the redemption aspect. By the end, I wasn't certain that our main character had actually been redeemed. He such a louse. His tears and emotion were honest, I guess, but I'd spent 100 minutes trying to warm up to the guy, and those darn Dardennes brothers just wouldn't let me in that easily! :)

I've grown more and more cynical toward conversions, whether instant, or gradual, a byproduct of grace or works. I didn't entirely share the outpouring of emotion in that final scene. Was I moved? Yes. Deeply? Not quite. Did I remain skeptical? Obviously.

I don't know that I'll ever forget that scene where he tells the girfriend he's sold their baby. Unbelievable. The girlfriend's reaction was perfect. Heck, I almost fainted just watching that scene!


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Thanks for the plug, Russ. I'm glad you liked it, Christian. Maybe we shouldn't worry about spoilers from here on out since I can't imagine most people reading this far in unless they've seen the movie. ...So Christian, how would you compare your emotional reaction to the end of the film with your reaction to Pickpocket's ending? For me, both films required some reflection before they began to deeply resonate.

The Dardennes told me Sunrise proved to them that they could have a long, drawn-out scene of reconciliation at the end of their film. And in Murnau's film, of course, the husband actually tries to kill the wife; at least in his case, Bruno's love for Sonia is never in question; he's just so supremely materialistic (which is clearly as much a nuture problem as it is a nature problem) that he fails to recognize the moral implications of his actions.

Something I didn't put in the interview, but which the Dardennes told me, was that they were particularly pleased with their use of the coffee in that final scene. In Sunrise, it's pieces of bread that the couple reunites over.

Edited by Doug C

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I loved the movie, but struggled some with it, particularly with the redemption aspect. By the end, I wasn't certain that our main character had actually been redeemed. He such a louse. His tears and emotion were honest, I guess, but I'd spent 100 minutes trying to warm up to the guy, and those darn Dardennes brothers just wouldn't let me in that easily! :)

I've grown more and more cynical toward conversions, whether instant, or gradual, a byproduct of grace or works. I didn't entirely share the outpouring of emotion in that final scene. Was I moved? Yes. Deeply? Not quite. Did I remain skeptical? Obviously.

I think you should still be skeptical. And I think you're meant to not be able to warm up to him. If he's humanized, then you start rooting for him, and it's easier for filmmaker or viewer to build in those buttons we push to take us to the pat resolution, wherein not only is he redeemed, but you have no doubt that he will forever remain redeemed and you know pretty much what the rest of his life will look like. Like you said, that's not the case here. We're shown nothing beyond that encounter at the table, and have no idea what happens to any of them next. There's no "Five years later..." or shot of the waiting for him upon his release. No montage of him learning a trade while in prison.

Still, though, I respond to that last scene at least as I would a "more complete" picture of redemption. That's what these guys are trying to do in their films: to restore or create a film language that really values redemption. Consciously or not, they're standing in stark contrast to the "cheap redemption" that has plagued film for who knows how long. And I'm inclined to think that the habits we pick up in watching films too easily translate to life, and life should tell us that redemption is hard work. (Or, to put it a little less works-righteousnessy, being redeemed is hard work.) The repentance or hard choices or relationship-building that comes after a Dardenne character is brought to the edge of realization isn't cheapened by being made part of a footnote or pre-credit montage. That's for another time, or for our own moral imaginations. What this film (and all of their films) is about is the process where the noose is twisting tighter and tighter until the moment when a person is given only two choices: to be hung or to be cut down. But being cut down does not mean escape or acquittal; it means you still face an angry, wronged mob, but you get a second chance to make things better.

I don't know that I'll ever forget that scene where he tells the girfriend he's sold their baby. Unbelievable. The girlfriend's reaction was perfect. Heck, I almost fainted just watching that scene!

Yeah, I mean, can you imagine being told something like that? It would be beyond words.


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So Christian, how would you compare your emotional reaction to the end of the film with your reaction to Pickpocket's ending? For me, both films required some reflection before they began to deeply resonate.

Believe it or not, the


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I love Paste. I really, really do, and I intend to subscribe. But they ran that lengthy interview with a cartoon character on the preceding two pages...


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Yeah, 510 words cut out of 1167 (they asked for 1200). It's sandwiched between four columns of ads. I think Paste has been pretty open about wanting wider coverage with less depth, so there you go.

But back to the Dardennes...

I was struck watching it a second time how much of Bruno's moral self-awareness is activated by the other person in his life: Steve. The Dardennes are careful to let us know how much Bruno was paid for his loot so when Steve asks about it later, we know Bruno is being honest with him. And his act of surrender is a direct extension of his loyalty to Steve, when he could've easily slipped away with the money.

It reminds me how Bruno groans "I never wanted to hurt you" when he collapses and pitifully grasps Sonia's leg. And his selling of the child is marked by small intimations of tenderness, like when he hesitates and asks if the child will indeed be given a good home--"one with money"--and the way he sacrifices his prized jacket so Jimmy has something to lay on. Bruno seriously lacks perspective and a sense of personal reponsibility, but he understands devotion and loyalty, both to Sonia and Steve, and those are among the keys that initiate his confrontation of deeper values.

Edited by Doug C

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Doug, I feel your pain. Less than half of my interview with Wim Wenders made it into the final CT piece that's going up this week. I'm hoping to post an extended version at Looking Closer this weekend.


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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I suspect that instead of Robert Bresson, the Dardennes were actually more influenced by Paul Meyer, a Belgian filmmaker (largely self-financed) who also had a kind of minimalist, dedramatized style very much like Bresson, but also made films about the social conditions of his day, like the maltreatment of immigrant workers in From the Branches Drops the Withered Blossom.

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OFF TOPIC

Yeah, 510 words cut out of 1167 (they asked for 1200). It's sandwiched between four columns of ads. I think Paste has been pretty open about wanting wider coverage with less depth, so there you go.

Doug:

So maybe it's more CUT than PASTE. Or perhaps the name of the magazine reflects the editor's unstated ambition regarding the manageable substance they would prefer their readerships brains turn into.

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I suspect that instead of Robert Bresson, the Dardennes were actually more influenced by Paul Meyer, a Belgian filmmaker (largely self-financed) who also had a kind of minimalist, dedramatized style very much like Bresson, but also made films about the social conditions of his day, like the maltreatment of immigrant workers in From the Branches Drops the Withered Blossom.

Wow, that's very interesting, acquarello, thanks. I haven't come across his work yet, but I'll keep an eye out.

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Stanley Kauffmann this week in the New Republic:

"The brothers [initially] seemed to find it miraculously easy to be first-rate; and they have continued so. How comforting it has been through the last ten years to remember that they are working, that two filmmakers of our time have such gifts of spiritual scope and unembarrassed compassion and have the art to present their insights simply, almost humbly."

Edited by Doug C

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I just came across a phenomenal interview with the Dardennes in the Guardian, here. It's a transcript of the recent Geoff Andrew-moderated talk at the NFT in London.

An excerpt:

GA: La Promesse is a film about a father and a son. It seems to me to be a subject that you keep coming back to -- it's certainly there in Le Fils and L'Enfant. Why this fascination with parental relations?

LD: I keep getting the heavy questions. Well, the subject is the beginning of humanity: that's where we come from. When you go back in time, it's the story of the father and mother; and the future is the story of our children and their children. The day that we are unable to be fathers and mothers, then humanity is finished. That's when the monkey will come back to claim his skull, and animals will rule on this planet. What we're interested in is what can still happen between a parent and a child. Maybe it comes also from the fact that in the city where we make our films, we have seen families destroyed by economic crisis, drugs, unemployment, truancy, and now kids are earning more than their parents but from illegal means. People are more and more alone. When we first wrote La Promesse, we had an older character who was supposed to provide guidance to the younger characters. But then we realised that this was nostalgic -- now, there is no one to be that voice. So we put them in a situation and asked the question, how are these people, who are now alone and without the help of the past, going to find their way to be fully human. That's very paradoxical because, as in La Promesse, to become human, the young boy needs to betray his father, when normally it should be the opposite.

GA: Interestingly, in your book, you reveal that your scripts go through many changes. For instance, Rosetta in the original script had a father. I know that Le Fils was partly inspired by the James Bulger case here in Liverpool in 1993, but the film didn't get made until 2002. Do you feel it's important to give your films a long time to gestate?

LD: Yes. We're a bit like cows, we like to graze. It's true, the event in Liverpool marked us, as it did everybody else.

GA: It seems to me that your stories are based on real-life events, but also stories from the Bible and mythology. For instance, you often talk about the story of Abraham and Isaac in relation to Le Fils.

LD: Yes, because Abraham doesn't have to kill Isaac, and that's the foundation of humanity. We thought a lot about that when we made Le Fils. We like to chat between ourselves about these Biblical characters, and people from literature as well. Before we make a film, we often talk about related books and exchange ideas.

Edited by Doug C

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Nick and I and my wife and maybe a few others are finally going to see this on Thursday night. Needless to say, I am stoked.

-s.


In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Caught this Saturday.

I've only seen one other Dardene's film, and that was La Promesse, way back in 1998. And so I was watching L'Enfant, and I had a sneaking suspicion that the guy who played Bruno was the same kid in La Promesse. Turns out I was right.

I do own two other Dardene's films, both Rosetta and Le Fils. It seems like each viewing of a film warrants another emotional gutteral experience. There's a time for that, and it takes time for me to get thru them.

Back to L'Enfant: I thought for sure the ending was that

they would lose their child forever... that somehow Bruno would never get the kid back, and it would be like "The Bicycle Thief".

I was surprised it didn't turn out that way, and it made the film more unpredictable. Wise choice.


Nick Alexander

Keynote, Worship Leader, Comedian, Parodyist

Host of the Prayer Meeting Podcast - your virtual worship oasis. (Subscribe)

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I saw this a while back, and haven't yet commented. I really like the ambiguity of the title, in that it seems it could refer to any of the main characters of the film. Of course, the obvious connotation is the baby, but the way this film portrays Bruno in particular, makes me wonder if he isn't also childlike in certain ways.

I think about his relations with Steve and the other kid. They barter back and forth with each other almost as if they are equals. At the very least he pals around with them much better than he handles his relationship with Sonia. Also, near the beginning of the film, he always seems to be dirty and needing to wipe of his hands or clean his shoes, just like a 10 year old kid might. In one scene, he splashes in the puddles and puts his footprint on the side of the wall. Is this adult behavior, the behavior of a father? I think not.

I was struck as well by the way the Dardennes set up the major conflict with the baby, by showing to what a great degree Bruno sees everything as currency. In the dealings with Steve, when Steve wants to take a radio for his sister's birthday, Bruno makes him pay for it. There is no such thing as a free gift for Bruno, no thanks to Steve for taking the risk to steal the stuff in the first place. Everything is a transaction, and if you want something in this world, you've got to pay for it.

Also, I am struck by the loose parallels with Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment.

Bruno is the criminal who is ultimately struck by his conscience. The constant presence in his life of Sonia (same name as Dostoevsky's heroine) is one of the vehicles of redemption for Bruno as well.

I also found this to be the most emotionally immediate of the Dardennes films for me. That may be because I have a 9 1/2 month old son at home, which makes the "drop off" that much more horrifying.

But I was kind of surprised (pleasantly) at the outpouring of emotion in the final frames. I guess that's true of Le Fils as well, though the emotion is quite differnet there.

Edited by John

All great art is pared down to the essential.
--Henri Langlois

 

Movies are not barium enemas, you're not supposed to get them over with as quickly as possible.

--James Gray

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Caught it last week. I really like the comments Doug cites from the Dardennes about the story of humanity and the basic relationships of father and mother, parent and child, and how "the day that we are unable to be fathers and mothers, then humanity is finished" (I've used that quote a couple of times on the radio discussing this film, thanks Doug!).

This, to me, is the most crucial difference between this film and Tsotsi: that Tsotsi is just a random thug who happens upon a baby, but Bruno is the father. Yet, like Tsotsi, Bruno has absolutely no idea how to respond appropriately to this creature -- in fact, he has much less idea than Tsotsi. Tsotsi is more cruel, but Bruno is more inhuman, at least for the first two-thirds of the film. (In passing, having now seen both films, I think Doug is right to note how different they are, but I also see why Ebert and Jeff found reason to mention them in the same breath, and it seems unfortunate to me that they should be pitted against one another.)

Bruno in a way hints at the potential human catastrophe alluded to by the Dardennes. Jesus said, "If you, being evil, know how to give good things to your children..." But Bruno doesn't even know that. At the same time, the portrayal is completely persuasive, completely human, far from judgmental or moralistic.

:spoilers:

What so far throws me about L'Enfant, among other things, is that the key turning point in Bruno's redemption, such as it is, seems to have nothing to do with the baby or Sonia. It's in

his relationship with Steve

that Bruno finally rises to genuine selflessness and reponsibility. I would like to see more of a connection between Bruno's first step(s) toward redemption and his problematic but central relationship(s) with Sonia and Jimmy. I'm not saying there is no connection, I'm just saying I want to see it more clearly than I do. I want to see the film more as a unity than I do (compare to the strong cohensive moral unity that is Le Fils).

Is there any step toward redemption in Bruno

getting Jimmy back

? Clearly, his primary motivation is not getting in trouble. Even after it's all over, Bruno still seems to be insensible to the enormity of his offense ("What did I do?"). Yet I think it is fair to say that there is still a step toward redemption here, not a moral one, perhaps, but an existential one, in the consequences that Bruno suffers for his actions. He loses his cellphone, he gets hit up for twice the money he lost, he gets beaten up. This may or may not inspire any remorse in him, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't serve a meaningful purpose in his life at that point with regard to the road he's been on.

At the same time, it's possible to read Bruno's most positive act in an ambiguous or cynical way: Is it possible that Bruno

gives himself up for Steve

not only out of remorse or loyalty, but also

to escape the fix he's gotten in with the black-market thugs

? I don't want to think that, but I don't think the question can just be ignored.

A number of people have commented on the crying scene at the end. I want to see his crying as a hopeful sign, but as with the crying of Zampano at the end of La Strada, I'm not convinced. As was observed above of infantile cuteness, emotional outbursts don't alter the moral issues involved.

Speaking of which, Doug says that the Dardennes "go out of their way" to avoid the emotional triggers of things like infantile cuteness (and crying, etc.). I think "go out of their way" is a good way to put it.

In a way it is like Bresson's aversion to onscreen displays of emotion, which allows Bresson to create onscreen worlds that are very evocative and haunting, while not always bearing a clear relationship to the real world of human experience, where emotions are not always cordoned off into the realm of the unseen and implicit.

I accept that the film is about Bruno's journey, not Jimmy's cuteness (or crying). OTOH, this may be seen as another way of saying that Bruno's journey has left him at the end of the film not yet having connected with the heritage of humanity regarding infantile cuteness (and crying). A baby that is only the fulcrum of a moral crisis is not yet a real baby. With L'Enfant, I'm not sure the baby is even that.

Some of the film's most vivid and haunting moments involve Bruno's random diversions: swishing a metal rod in the river, making muddy footprints on the wall. There is somehow something subtly yet deeply disturbing about these scenes, although nothing terrible is taking place. I think also of the extended slap-fight between Bruno and Sonia in the car.

Edited by SDG

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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At the same time, it's possible to read Bruno's most positive act in an ambiguous or cynical way: Is it possible that Bruno gives himself up for Steve not only out of remorse or loyalty, but also to escape the fix he's gotten in with the black-market thugs? I don't want to think that, but I don't think the question can just be ignored.

A number of people have commented on the crying scene at the end. I want to see his crying as a hopeful sign, but as with the crying of Zampano at the end of La Strada, I'm not convinced. As was observed above of infantile cuteness, emotional outbursts don't alter the moral issues involved.

SDG, I agree with you entirely. I did *not* feel any kind of hope in the crying scene at the end. I just felt like he was lost and despairing. I'm almost convinced that his decision was one of survival, not of conscience.

Some of the film's most vivid and haunting moments involve Bruno's random diversions: swishing a metal rod in the river, making muddy footprints on the wall. There is somehow something subtly yet deeply disturbing about these scenes, although nothing terrible is taking place. I think also of the extended slap-fight between Bruno and Sonia in the car.

These do stand out as enormously important deails (the farting scene as well), because they reinforce our understanding that Bruno is still just a kid. And, like little kids who lack guidance, he uses any spare energy to strike something or disturb something. He's a creature of kinetic energy and little to know thought. He's the Tasmanian Devil.

Another sign of his immaturity--it's almost bizarre how de-sexualized Bruno is in the film. When he sneaks out of the shelter at night and meets that woman, I was just waiting for him to sleep with her and cheat on Sonia. But no, he's focused on the transaction. When he's with Sonia, he behaves like a somewhat-affectionate sibling at times, but I kept waiting for him to become sexually abusive or overcome by lust, but no. It doesn't even seem to be part of his paradigm... except for the fact that he fathered a child at some point.


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Looking forward to your thoughts on the other two films, Nick.

In one scene, he splashes in the puddles and puts his footprint on the side of the wall. Is this adult behavior, the behavior of a father? I think not.

Heh. You know what I think of when I recall this scene, is the image of Bruno attempting to 'put his mark on the world' higher and higher. And its physical inability mirrors his failure to become a father or increase his social standing. Of course, this is merely one reading, but it's a compelling one.

There is no such thing as a free gift for Bruno, no thanks to Steve for taking the risk to steal the stuff in the first place. Everything is a transaction, and if you want something in this world, you've got to pay for it.
This is largely true, but he does lavish money on Sonia, too, buying her a jacket like his, renting the convertible and stroller. Of course, the first two expenditures are largely tied to his own self-image. But he's not the greedy miser of Au hasard Balthazar, slapping Marie's hand as she attempts to scarf down a jar of jam. Bruno spends money--on Sonia--as soon as he gets it.

Nice name catch with Dostoevsky, John!

. . ."the day that we are unable to be fathers and mothers, then humanity is finished"

Yeah, the Dardennes have really made parenthood a primary theme of their work. I've always liked their exchange with Cineaste in 2003:

Jean-Pierre: "[
The Son
] is a story about transmission."

Luc: "Yes, about what one gives to the next generation. We do not wish to get carried away with accusations against adults, against parents; as
La Promesse
suggests, we feel that these days it is as if we adults no longer want to die to allow the generation coming after us to live. In order to educate someone, you have to know how to die so that he or she can live; so that, simply put, they can take your place. We adults want to be immortal, we want not to die. Somehow it is as if, when all is said and done, we have this desire to eat our children, like the Greek god, Cronos. In short, we have nothing to say to our children anymore unless it is, 'Hey, go play, get out of our hair! We like you. We give you birthday parties. We do everything you want, but we have absolutely nothing to say to you. We have nothing to pass on to you.' That is a bit of what we felt and what we attempted to show, how adults were trying to be adolescents and not fathers, not mothers--just buddies.

Of course in L'Enfant, the father is not a buddy but he is an adolescent. Steven, have you seen La Promesse?

What so far throws me about L'Enfant, among other things, is that the key turning point in Bruno's redemption, such as it is, seems to have nothing to do with the baby or Sonia.
I wouldn't go that far. I think it would be easy to read it in terms of his whole moral consciousness sneaking up on him through an intermediary (Steve). Bruno sees Sonia and breaks down...it's important that the final scene (and the film's only depiction of Bruno's full awareness and remorse) takes place with Sonia; I can't see Bruno having a similar reaction to Steve. It's as if the shock of his own awareness overcomes him while he's staring down at the coffee, having just called Jimmy by name.

Conversion is a tricky thing. Bruno is no hero at the film's end, and we don't know whether he begins a new life. But like all Dardenne films, their narrative ends on a glimmer of hope; a recognition, a remorse, an awareness through a "face to face" encounter with the person of their most intense moral confrontation. Sometimes, that confrontation is obvious (The Son) and sometimes it's not (Rosetta). But the events depicted in the film all point toward this moment; Bruno's relationship with Steve is only part of that process for him. What he does after that is material for our own reflection. We are often unaware of what we do or how our transformations are initiated or who they involve, and I love how the Dardennes' films (and Bresson's) evoke this sense of moral recognition and grace appearing unplanned and abruptly. The Dardennes, like the Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, fully believe that a "face to face" confrontation between people is the starting point for all inner journeys. Bruno has a long way to go before he becomes a father, but the spark has been set.

At the same time, it's possible to read Bruno's most positive act in an ambiguous or cynical way. . .
It's possible, but it doesn't seem likely. Bruno doesn't go to the police after he is beaten up, despite the absolute certainty of his inability to pay (such a great metaphor for fallenness) and unavoidable suffering; he turns himself in only after Steve is arrested. One of the reasons this is not more drawn out, again, is perhaps because this is mystery to Bruno as well. He acts in the moment and it's not until he sees Sonia again that the moral implications of his act becomes clear to him. Something has occured within Bruno and he is only now becoming aware of it. Where will it lead? Edited by Doug C

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Doug, that was another great Dardenne quote. Alas, I have so far seen only Le Fils and L'Enfant.

Heh. You know what I think of when I recall this scene, is the image of Bruno attempting to 'put his mark on the world' higher and higher. And its physical inability mirrors his failure to become a father or increase his social standing. Of course, this is merely one reading, but it's a compelling one.
That is a neat thought. What it made me think of was the line in the parable about the workers hired at the last hour: The landlord finds them in the market and says in effect, "Why are you standing around doing nothing?" and they say "No one has hired us." Suzanne has always found that question an extraordinary statement about futility in the human condition. How many lives are spent, not in outright evil or selfish ambition, not in the wanton living of the prodigal son or the malice of the wicked tenants, but simply standing around doing nothing? (For some reason I keep reaching for the parables to discuss the Dardennes' films!)

This is largely true, but he does lavish money on Sonia, too, buying her a jacket like his, renting the convertible and stroller. Of course, the first two expenditures are largely tied to his own self-image.
And overall he may be largely buying her approval.

What so far throws me about L'Enfant, among other things, is that the key turning point in Bruno's redemption, such as it is, seems to have nothing to do with the baby or Sonia.
I wouldn't go that far.
N.b. FWIW, please note that I was careful not to say "The film doesn't do this." What I said was, "I would like to see something here, and so far I don't."

Bruno doesn't go to the police after he is beaten up, despite the absolute certainty of his inability to pay (such a great metaphor for fallenness) and unavoidable suffering; he turns himself in only after Steve is arrested.
Good point.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Heh. You know what I think of when I recall this scene, is the image of Bruno attempting to 'put his mark on the world' higher and higher. And its physical inability mirrors his failure to become a father or increase his social standing. Of course, this is merely one reading, but it's a compelling one.

Doug, this is a great thought. A great read in the context of the film.

This is largely true, but he does lavish money on Sonia, too, buying her a jacket like his, renting the convertible and stroller. Of course, the first two expenditures are largely tied to his own self-image. But he's not the greedy miser of Au hasard Balthazar, slapping Marie's hand as she attempts to scarf down a jar of jam. Bruno spends money--on Sonia--as soon as he gets it.

Your right about this. I don't like thinking of him as a miser. It seems like these moments of spending money reveal a kind of naivete, and definitely immaturity, about him - throwing cash around like he has nothing in the world tying him down. The jacket, if I remember right, comes right after the visit from the social worker, and Sonia is talking about how much Jimmy is going to cost them a month (something like 1000 euros). Then he goes and blows 200 (I think) on the jacket.

Of course, now I'm wanting to see it again, because the more I think about it, the more I wonder how naive he might be in regard to all his transactions. There really does seem to be a childlike quality running through all his actions in the film, which immediately opens a door to empathy.

Oh, and Dostoevsky's been on the brain recently. I'm reading his novel Devils (or Demons, if you prefer). Plus I just rewatched Before Sunset with Julie Delpy, who played Sonia in a TV version of Crime and Punishment.

Edited by John

All great art is pared down to the essential.
--Henri Langlois

 

Movies are not barium enemas, you're not supposed to get them over with as quickly as possible.

--James Gray

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