Interesting. In its list of alternate titles, the IMDb no longer lists that one. (It also doesn't list The Kid with the Bike.)
By the way, IMDB has this listed as "Set Me Free."
The Kid with a Bike
Posted 29 October 2011 - 12:44 PM
Posted 09 March 2012 - 11:06 AM
Edited by Darrel Manson, 09 March 2012 - 11:07 AM.
Posted 11 March 2012 - 10:19 PM
This morning I showed my daughter her first film, The Red Balloon (1957). I hadn't seen it for years and, so, wasn't at all expecting to be constantly reminded of The Kid with the Bike.
No kidding. It's not even subtle. And it isn't just the red balloon/red jacket connection. The action and composition in several scenes, right down to the framing of a narrow alley, are insisting on the relationship between these films.
There's a prolonged shot of him riding fast on the bike during which his jacket fills up with wind. In The Red Balloon, the balloon seems to suggest a fragile innocence, or the boy's spirit... something breakable that the cruel world is breaking. Here, the "balloon" seems to be the boy's life itself. And what was a gesture of supernatural, fairy tale grace in Balloon becomes something much more tangible, human, and hopeful (in my opinion). Balloon seemed to suggest that our dreams will save us. Kid With a Bike suggests that, no, sometimes human beings are moved - mysteriously - to show love and grace. I'm only just beginning to ponder how Bike revises Balloon, but I'm excited by the idea.
Combine that with the kid's desperate performance and the beautiful, unexplained grace of the foster mother, and you've got an explosive combination.
And the white stripe on his jacket. The importance of water. And the "warm breath."
The Dardennes seemed more playful in their image composition here than ever before. For example, when the boy remarks on the woman's "warm breath," it sets us up for a great moment later when he leans his head against her in the car, and she turns her head and looks down at him. As she does,
So that's the *fourth* movie to join my 2011 top ten list since January 1, 2012.
Edited by Overstreet, 11 March 2012 - 10:25 PM.
Posted 12 March 2012 - 07:15 PM
Finally saw THE KID WITH A BIKE. Minor Dardennes? Only if you consider stories about children "minor."
... If Bresson had made THE RED BALLOON, it might have been THE KID WITH A BIKE.
I'm so excited to review this film.
Posted 09 April 2012 - 01:14 PM
Looks like Andrew Sullivan's been reading Good Letters.
I want to laud this film, link to discussion about it, congratulate friends who are linked to in the post, etc. But Andrew Sullivan. I just can't do it. I hope you understand, Jeffrey. (And, FWIW, congratulations.)
Edited by Christian, 09 April 2012 - 02:38 PM.
Posted 09 April 2012 - 01:16 PM
Edited by SDG, 09 April 2012 - 01:17 PM.
Posted 20 April 2012 - 11:07 PM
Edited by Crow, 20 April 2012 - 11:07 PM.
Posted 01 May 2012 - 08:53 AM
2012 has defied expectations to some extent. So far this year, we’ve had a wonderful family film in The Secret World of Arrietty, impressive actioners like Haywire and Act of Valor, a semi-successful romantic comedy with Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, and a foreign film titled The Kid with a Bike that is as close to perfect as filmmaking gets.
Does that go too far? I've been thinking of ways The Kid With a Bike could've been better, but haven't come up with anything. (I'm still not sure I understood the ending.)
Edited by Christian, 01 May 2012 - 08:53 AM.
Posted 03 May 2012 - 08:52 AM
I can't stop thinking about The Kid with a Bike. I loved it right away, but it keeps growing on me the more I think about it and discuss it with people who have seen it. I appreciated the Dardennes' brand of realism here--because it's not the kind that's devoid of mystery. Two spiritually mysterious moments that stuck out to me (and it seems others) were the boy's fascination with water in the hairdresser's shop, and the moment by his bedside when he seems mildly comforted by her "warm breath." I took the former to indicate his desperation for life (the more abundant kind--the living water), and the latter to indicate Samantha's ability--as the embodiment of gracious love that she is--to breathe this life into his. Jeffrey--I didn't notice the "breath" indicator in the scene in the car that you mention, so I'm interested to see that scene again.
I also appreciate that the film is so affecting without a trace of contrivance or maudlin sentimentality. And no scene is wasted, the whole thing is so effectively streamlined.
Regarding the ending, at first I was almost disappointed that it didn't end with Samantha and Cyril riding bikes together. I found this scene effective on a number of levels. For one, Cyril was actually riding for fun rather than frantically fighting for his life. Secondly, I appreciated the subtle move of having him willing to trade bikes with Samantha. Her ride is different than the one he's been used to--with different gears that allow him to pedal easier while going a further distance.
Yet, I've also come to really appreciate what comes after. I appreciate it for the contrast that's already been set up at the meeting between the boy, Samantha, and the father that he robbed. Cyril doesn't have his father at the meeting, but the man doesn't have his son either. He has not forgiven Cyril. But what we later learn is that Cyril--adopted into a loving relationship like the one Samantha offers--is in a better place than even the most intact fathers and sons, if they have not this love. And it's wonderful how the film ends with Cyril as a force of calm. He really has changed. The rage is gone.
Well, I may have more to say later, but here's my review over at Christ and Pop Culture.
Near the beginning of The Kid with a Bike (Dirs. Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne), there’s a shot of 12-year-old Cyril Catoul (Thomas Doret) with a dead-stare strain on his face revealing him both determined and devastated as he ascends in an elevator to his single father’s former apartment. As it turns out, he has lost both his father and his bike, and he’s desperate to get them back.
It was a shot that jolted me emotionally and which demonstrated two points that would persist throughout the film: first, that the Dardennes know how to be affecting without a trace of contrivance, and second, that Thomas Doret is quite the young actor. During the first act, Cyril is a red blur (a formal use of color by the Dardennes that’s as effective as it is memorable), frantically hopeful that his father has only left him for a time. Yet, as his search becomes more revealing, Cyril’s child-like faith in his father begins to erode, and so too does the young boy’s sense of self-worth.
And my conclusion:
Aided by the newfound security of Samantha’s gracious love in his life, Cyril is now a force of calm endurance, able to transcend problems that might entangle even the most intact father-son relationships. Near the end of the film, it’s apparent that Cyril’s willing to take a new ride with new gears. Thanks to Samantha, he’s been adopted into the kind of family guided by love which will never leave nor forsake. And, therefore he doesn’t have to pedal fast only to go a shorter distance.
Edited by Nicholas, 03 May 2012 - 08:54 AM.
Posted 03 May 2012 - 10:19 AM
And no scene is wasted, the whole thing is so effectively streamlined.
This is what I meant in describing the film as close to perfect.
I'm going to read your full review and link to it on Facebook. Thanks for the excuse to push this film again -- especially with The Avengers sucking up all the air in the room!
Posted 03 May 2012 - 11:44 AM
Yeah, I just commented about how I'm going to see The Avengers tonight, but can't stop thinking about Bike.
Posted 04 May 2012 - 12:03 AM
I'm glad I did, but I'm tempted to impulsively say "this is minor Dardenne" or something of that nature.
I don't trust myself until I've seen it a second time, though.
Still, moving on to serious stuff:
Was anyone else struck by how 'pretty' this film was?
I'm not sure if it was purposeful or not, but the general picaresque nature of the landscape seemed at odds with a lot of what was happening on screen.
Maybe my memory's just faulty, but the settings all seemed a lot more attractive and cleaner than in other Dardenne films (I'm thinking mostly of The Son and The Child since those are the two I'm most familiar with).
Or is it just because I'm finally seeing a Dardenne film projected on a medium that's not DVD? (Yes, this is my first Dardenne film in the cinema).
Have the Dardenne brothers gone soft?
My God, they're even using music now!?! (I believe they did for Lorna's Silence too, but I haven't seen that yet).
Posted 24 October 2012 - 06:20 PM
Posted 24 October 2012 - 06:45 PM
Posted 24 October 2012 - 08:27 PM