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La Promesse


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#1 Sara

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 05:19 PM

I've just finished watching La Promesse. And I wanted to find the thread that would have your discussions of it.

I can't find it. Just Alan's summary.

Such a wonderful film.

Please point me to the thread. I wonder if anyone had any ideas on what happened after the end.

Sara

Edited by Sara, 11 October 2005 - 02:47 PM.


#2 Sara

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Posted 08 October 2005 - 03:02 PM

QUOTE(Sara @ Oct 7 2005, 06:19 PM)
I've just finished watching La Promesse. And I wanted to find the thread that would have your discussions of it.

I can't find it. Just Alan's summary.

Such a wonderful film.

Please point me to the thread. I wonder if anyone had any ideas on what happened after the end.

Sara

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So since that has been no reply, I gather that this can start a thread on La Promesse.

The same man played the father in this film as in The Son. And he played it equally as well. And I thought the son in this film showed a real spiritual growth. (He was a very appealing boy. Conflicted. Trying to please his father, yet honor his promise and move beyond the racket they were in.)

But I have two questions:

!. Why are there so many "father/son conflict" films that seem to be spiritually significant? (Where are the mother/daughter ones?) (The last several films I have watched have been about fathers and sons. ex. The Return.)

2. What do you think happened after the end?

Sara

#3 Christian

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Posted 08 October 2005 - 03:09 PM

Sara, I love this film but have seen it just twice, and it didn't blossom for me until that second viewing, which was two years ago.

Since it's not fresh in my mind, I don't want to say too much about the film, but I'll briefly address your questions.

1. I have no idea, except that Father/son conflicts are an easy parallel for Father/Son readings, or Father/us readings. In the case of La Promesse, however, the father isn't admirable. In The Return, that's less clear, but he certainly doesn't come across as compassionate.

2. Not to minimize your insight, but I don't like this question (sorry!). The movie ends perfectly, at just the right place. Questions are answered, the narrative circle is complete, we need to know not one thing more about these characters. So, while it might be tempting to speculate on what happens "next," I don't see how that would add to the film, or to our experience of it.

I have a hunch, though, that you're eager to share your own thoughts about what might happen to the characters. What's your take?

#4 Doug C

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Posted 08 October 2005 - 09:54 PM

The relationship between fathers and sons (or its conspicuous absence) is a prime element in just about all the Dardenne films--in Rosetta, it's mother and daughter. Given that the Dardennes are highly influenced by Jewish thought and ethics, it's no surprise that the archetypal story of Abraham and his near-sacrifice of Isaac has been very formative in their thinking and is referenced several times in Luc Dardenne's diary, recently published in France.

I have always appreciated the interview they gave Cineaste a few years ago, especially this excerpt:

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."

Edited by Doug C, 08 October 2005 - 09:58 PM.


#5 Sara

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 02:43 PM

QUOTE(Doug C @ Oct 8 2005, 10:54 PM)
.

I have always appreciated the interview they gave Cineaste a few years ago, especially this  excerpt:

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."

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This quote hit me hard. And made me think about my life and about my being willing to give it up so that my children can take my place. (Maybe thinking about that makes death a bit easier to take...)

The quote above says: " 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."

I can see this in Les Fils - and in a negative way La Promesee.

However, as much as I want to pass on things to my children, I am not wanting to pass on out of the picture - not yet, anyway. (I wonder, if ever...)

Sara




#6 Doug C

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Posted 13 October 2005 - 11:55 AM

I hope you meant "hit you hard" in a good way, Sara! smile.gif

And you're totally right about the educating angle in Le Fils and its negative counterpart in La Promesse. The Dardennes are also highly sensitive to the idea of vocation and trade--you see it in all their films--and how this is or isn't often handed down from generation to generation.

And although it's obliquely linked to death, I think it also has a lot to do with life--what do we want to learn from our parents? What can we teach our children? What are our tastes, political values, priorities, vocations? I like how the Dardennes said they didn't want to criticize parents too much...it's a monumental task. (You have my deepest empathy!) But at the same time, it is a serious issue and one wonders how many parents even think about it beyond the daily grind or lifestyle/social/religious affiliations. My parents had a pretty laid back attitude toward me that in some ways was good, but in other ways I now regret. I guess that's one reason why I resonate with the Dardenne films. Absent fathers speak to me.


#7 Ron Reed

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 06:16 PM

I just finished watching LA PROMESSE, and ROSETTA yesterday. THE SON is an all-time favourite of mine, so it comes back to mind very strongly as well. (I couldn't help but notice how tidy the D Bros production schedule is: 1996, 1999, 2002, 2005. I predict their next Cannes prize in 2008.)

Yes, parents and children. And mentors and apprentices. In all three films.

SOME MILD SPOILERS, but I'll be careful about major ones...

When Igor's boss at the garage delievered the ultimatum, it struck me that the boy was being offered a choice of two apprenticeships. The work with his father was every bit an apprenticeship into a trade, wasn't it? indeed, there were times when I admired the way the father was passing things along to his son, the way they were working together as a team, toward a goal: very appealing, and so fascinating when the craft he is learning is mostly not something you'd want him to be learning! How interesting to see the boy growing into adulthood, growing up into the image of his father: we celebrate the maturing, the coming of age, the connectedness, while we recoil from the work itself, and increasingly question whether his father is an adult at all!

Roger's love for his son is evident, and beautiful, however wrong-headed and compromised by a preopccupation with self-interest so profound it is evil at times. How about that scene where the two of them are singing together into the microphone at the bar! The way they enjoy each other, the way Igor is striving to be an adult and Roger is beaming like a kid. And how about the ambivalences of the scene in the car where Roger gives his son a ring "just like mine": the son is so proud of growing into his father's image, receiving his father's blessing, yet the gift is tarnished by the sense that it's a reward for a bad job well done, and maybe even a seal on his silence about their complicity in evil. How significant that in that scene the father also corrects his son calling him "Dad," having him say "Roger" instead: there's something generous in the gesture, offering the son a certain coming-of-age equality with the father, yet something terribly sad about a father wanting to be "just like" his son (as suggested in the quote you gave us, Doug). And something fateful in the timing of this moment when the father begins to give away his function as father. (And again the misguided "gift" the father has for the son, which we learn to be the context of the song in the bar: how perfect that we watch the "tonight you become a man" scene without anyone telling us what is happening, and without further comment in the rest of the picture.)

And of course Igor is ultimagely given the task of caring for Amidou's wife and child - he is now called on to be a quasi-husband and a sort-of-father, the central event of the film as signalled by the title. Other rite-of-passage elements; the giving up of the go-kart, the repair of the statue (in the very garage where he had been serving his "legitimate" apprenticeship). How interesting that Igor began by spying on Assita in her slip, a voyeuristic teenage thing, and then (in a sense) that his desire is then put to the test when he's called on to be something like her husband - without the sex. To relate with her, rather than to have relations with her. Talk about growing up. (I'm trying to find the section of the film where she talks about being seen without knowing, or some such: resonated wonderfully with the peephole scene.)

Which reminds me how much more intricate a film this is than ROSETTA or the even more sparse THE SON, stripped right down to essentials: ever more Bressonian. As much as THE SON remains my favourite - its themes are closest to my heart, and I saw it at precisely the right moment for it to have absolute impact - I also really appreciate JP and Luc's mastery of storytelling in LA PROMESSE. Simply in terms of narrative set-ups and pay-offs, it is truly astonishing. I think the beat-to-beat construction of narrative is a very under-emphasized, under-appreciated part of this art-form - especially in circles most likely to appreciate the Dardennes, where tastes are likely to incline away from narrative. How I'd love to do a walk-through of this film, looking at the extraordinary plotting, both powerful and understated. These boys are as skilled at constructing a story as Olivier is at crafting a piece of furniture.

I kept noticing elements in this story that echoed the other two Dardennes I've seen, not necessarily things with huge symbolic significance, but nonetheless fascinating resonances that enhance the thrilling unity of their work; in addition to parent/child stuff, vocation and apprenticeship, there's people counting money, poverty / employment / unemployment, lousy accomodations, showers, buying and eating food, mopeds, propane bottles, use of off-screen sounds to build tension (guess where they learned that trick?), hiding things in holes in the dirt, medical problems (Roger's ear, Rosetta's stomach, Olivier's back), people spying on people, running through halls or forests (with cameras right behind them!), betrayals, people pinning people to the ground, physical tasks like rigging fences or working locks.

The explicitly religious elements of LA PROMESSE are more prominent than the other two films, aren't they? The sheep that's being penned up "to celebrate the end of Ramadan." (Anybody tell me more about Ramadan? Ya just can't help thinking it's going to have something to do with the story, yeah?...). The divination by the Africans using chicken guts, water, sand. (What an amazing choice on the writers' part to have the chicken walk right across the body, then use it for the divination!) I'd say if anything about the film feels like it's not "of a piece" with the other two Dardenne films I've seen, it's the African flavour, and even moreso the African spirituality: both stand as something of a contrast to the grey, oppressive, matter-of-fact under-stated Belgianness of everything else in the Dardenne world. Even to the point that, when the film travels to apartment of the African wise man (not sure what to call him), they walk through a section of the city that's actually nice - still grey and overcast but at least modern and not run down or poverty-stricken or numbingly stark - and it came as something of a shock! I remember reading someone speculate after seeing (or reading about) L'ENFANT that maybe the Dardennes were repeating themselves. At the time, having only seen one of their films, I thought to myself "Fine, let them repeat! I'll take as much of that stuff as they're willing to dish out." Now that I've seen how much they do in fact restrict their focus to certain themes, certain parts of life, I definitely see why people might comment on the repetitiveness or narrowness of their focus, AND I say all the more, "Bring it on!" You might as well complain that Bach writes so many contrapuntal works for the organ, or hope that Charlie Parker will give the saxophone a break and branch out a little - "Have you considered the harmonica, Bird?" As long as their characters are as utterly human and fully fleshed as Igor and Roger, Rosetta and her mother, Olivier and Francis; as long as they keep presenting us with human circumstances and moral decisions as compelling as all the ones I've seen so far, I pray they never opt for novelty over sublimity.

Speaking of those characters, how about those characterizations! Oh my gosh. As perfect as Olivier Gourmet was in THE SON, I personally wasn't convinced I would have awarded him a prize for it: it's so internal and controlled, I wasn't sure it really called for all that much from the actor. But now that I've seen LA PROMESSE, I say, give this guy all the hardware you can find! The contrasts between the two characters are extreme, yet in neither is there even a trace of performance: just absolutely convincing transformation. Makes me think of the good but no-nonsense waffle-stand owner in ROSETTA, and the head honcho at the train station in TIME OF THE WOLF, and I start to realize what range this guy has.

Absolute incarnational realism in every one of the performances. I suppose I should rave about ROSETTA over in her thread, but while we're on the topic of acting... Oh my gosh. How far are we into that film before she slows down even the slightest bit? There's a fierceness to the way she walks, digs in the dirt, works with her fishing lines, as if she doesn't have time to do everything she has to do, it's almost as if she's being pursued by something dangerous. No wonder her stomach hurts: mine did.

All for now.

Edited by Ron, 19 October 2005 - 02:09 PM.


#8 Ron Reed

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Posted 19 October 2005 - 10:39 PM

This repeats some of that, but for the record...

LA PROMESSE (1996, Belgium, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne)
"How can you be guiltier than anyone in the eyes of all? There are murderers and brigands. What crimes have you committed to blame yourself more than everyone else?"
The Brothers Karamazov


It comes as no surprise to learn that this inquiry into the awakening of a young man's conscience should be inspired by a passage from Dostoevsky. Where the novelist delves deep into the consciousness of his characters, the film-makers restrict themselves to irreducable physical action, but the essential impulse is the same: a commitment to portray the darkness of the human heart and the possibility of its costly redemption in stories whose uncompromising realism is informed by the Christian faith.

Igor is a likeable kid on the verge of adulthood; smart, polite, eager to please. He also steals from customers at the service station where he is apprenticing, and lies about his constant lateness and unpredicable absences. Called away from the shop one too many times, his boss gives an ultimatum, and Igor is essentially offered a choice between two apprenticeships: he can learn the mechanic's trade, or give his full attention to the "family business," trading on the powerlessness of illegal immigrants.

LA PROMESSE is a marvel of balance and ambivalence. While we recoil from the nature and consequences of the work itself – observed in meticulous detail by the film-makers, who as usual are fascinated by the learning of craft, the concrete workings of a specific trade – we are drawn to the love between father and son, and the inherent goodness of family members working together in a common cause, echoes of the Dardenne brothers' own familial bond: "one film-maker, four eyes."

There is something sacred about a father passing things along to his son – profoundly appealing, and profoundly disquieting when the skills he conveys are nothing you'd want his boy to be learning. The young man grows into adulthood, grows up into the image of his father, and while we celebrate the maturing and the connectedness, we recoil from the work itself, and increasingly question whether Igor's father is an adult at all. Roger's love for his son is evident and touching, however wrong-headed, however compromised by a preoccupation with self-interest so profound it moves beyond criminality to verge on evil.

In one extraordinary scene they sing together on a tiny stage in a smoky bar, a sort of blue-collar Belgian karaoke. The performances (here and throughout the film – Olivier Gourmet is a god!) are extraordinary: they love what they're doing, glory in being together. Igor's studied cool doesn't quite conceal the fact he is playing to the audience, possibly playing to a particular someone in the audience: Roger is euphoric, flushed, constantly looking at his boy in the fineness and abandon of this moment. Ivor strives to look like an adult, Roger beams like a kid. The song ends, they leave the stage, and as they settle into a booth with two women we realize the context for their performance without a word of explanation being given: tonight, the boy will become a man, in his father's terms.

The sequence is set up with a scene of tremendous irony and sadness. After the son has proved himself in a particularly compromising task, Roger gives his son a ring "just like mine": the son glows in the warmth of his father's praise, palpably proud of growing into his father's image, receiving his father's blessing, yet the gift is tarnished by the inescapable sense that this is a reward for a bad job well done – perhaps even a seal on his silence about their complicity in evil. When Igor calls his father "Dad," he is corrected: "No, call me Roger." At the same time as there is something undeniably generous in the gesture, offering the son a certain coming-of-age equality with his father, there's something terribly sad about a father wanting to be "just like" his son. And something fateful in the timing of this moment, when a father gives away his right to the title of "Father."

Ultimately Igor is offered another choice, when he is asked to make a promise (to another father) that will require him to become protector to some of the victims of his father's self-interested cruelty, a sort-of-father to a small boy and a quasi-husband to Assita, the child's mother. To Igor, this appealing African woman began as an object of his adolescent sexual desire, as he spied on her squalid apartment as she worked in her slip: now his true manhood is put to the test when he's called on to be her provider, something like her husband - without the sex. To relate with her, rather than to have relations with her.

While Luc Dardenne's Catholic spirituality and engagement with the Bible are apparent throughout his journal (Au dos de nos images, 2005), and the thematic preoccupations of all the brothers' films – guilt and responsibility, vengeance and mercy, parents and children, poverty and justice, truth and lies, agonizing moral choices when sheer survival is threatened – resonate with that Christian faith, it is only in LA PROMESSE (and the much more obscure FALSCH) that explicitly religious elements come into play. In the person of Assita, Igor is confronted for the first time not only with the kind of strength and nobility that come from authentic and uncompromising moral integrity, but also with spiritual mysteries that suggest there are realities beyond the venal, materialistic, opportunistic world his father has introduced him to. When he brings the couple their forged residency permit, Assita and her husband are covering their baby with ointment: "In this new house he must be protected against bad spirits." When Igor grins and informs them that there are no bad spirits here, the woman corrects him: "Yes. We don't see them, but they see us." And we recall, and perhaps Igor recalls, the moment when he peered at her through the secret peep-hole: how can she know the nature of the heart behind this innocent boyish face, as false as the immigration documents he offers?

Later the woman struggles to construct a back-alley sheep pen out of trash and a discarded bed-frame: the animal is not to provide milk for her baby, but "to celebrate the end of Ramadan" – the significance of which is no more explained to the viewer than it is to the utterly secular Igor. By reading the entrails of a chicken who has (unknown to her) walked over her husband's grave, the she knows her husband "is not far away," and when Igor witnesses an African shaman discern truths about the Assita's husband by chanting and gazing at elemental things like water and sand, he is almost physically sick – not so much with the risk that his sins will be revealed as with the fact that he is suddenly face to face with grown-up realities about which he and his "worldly" father are utterly naive.

DIRTY PRETTY THINGS, THE RETURN

Edited by Ron, 19 October 2005 - 10:40 PM.


#9 Christian

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 10:14 AM

Andrew Sarris, in a negative review of the new Western The Three Burials of Miguel Estrada, which I’m dying to see, further piques my interest with this:

Mention has been made in some reviews of such supposedly comparable westerns as John Ford’s The Searchers (1956) and Sam Peckinpah’s Ride the High Country (1962). No way, Jose—those sublime twilight sagas of aging but still indomitable action heroes have little in common with the morbidly quixotic (though commendably progressive) Three Burials. What Mr. Jones’ film resembles more closely is the 1996 Belgian art-house hit The Promise (La Promesse), by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, in which the 15-year-old son of an exploiter of illegal immigrants defies his father to keep a promise that he made to an African laborer as he lay dying from a construction accident to take care of his wife and child. Still, The Promise involves a young man’s obligation to a dead man’s living family, not a dead man’s preferred burial site.


#10 Persona

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 10:36 AM

Coincidentally, I just watched this for the first time last night. I have wanted to be in the Dardennes in-group for so long that I'm not sure whether my love for Rosetta and now this is really real, but I've got to just spurt it out -- this is my favorite of the three. Am I a victim of group-think, or was I just too wiped out to "get"
The Son? Cuz I've done a 180 from my initial reaction.

Loved it.

Great comments, Ron. I think you've convinced me to watch it again over the holidays.

-s.

Edited by stef, 21 December 2005 - 10:37 AM.


#11 Christian

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 10:43 AM

It's easily my favorite of the three I've seen, Stef, although it took me two viewings to appreciate it.

#12 Doug C

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 11:19 AM

I'm so glad to hear that, Stef. I adore their work, and think they're among the Greats working today (thematically and stylistically). I still haven't tracked down their early documentaries or first couple features (one of which they now practically disown), but for me La Promesse, Rosetta, The Son, and L'Enfant are about as perfect a run as any filmmaker has had.

I enjoyed Kent Jones' defense of L'Enfant in a recent issue of Film Comment:

"There's a similarly fervent yet profoundly different love of movies and moviemaking [at this year's Cannes] in the Dardenne Brothers' Palme d'Or-winning The Child. A world away from Wenders's ongoing romance with male loneliness in a clean, well-lit frame, the brothers get their charge out of the cinema's potential for conveying inner experience. The complaints about their new film began the moment the closing credits started to roll: it's too formulaic, it's too much like their other films, every film has been a little less good, etc. All this talk of repetition is intriguing. Whenever a modern filmmaker revisits the same territory, whether moral (Goodfellas/Casino) or textural (Rushmore/The Royal Tenenbaums), they get clubbed over the head. Yet when we look back at Hitchcock, Hawks, Ford, Mizoguchi, we celebrate such repetition. Why? . . . Many critics shrugged when the Dardennes netted their second Palme d'Or on a compromise vote. Twenty years from now, we're all going to look back on what will certainly be one of the strongest bodies of work in cinema and wonder why we were so harshly judgmental."

#13 MattPage

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 09:51 AM

Saw this yesterday - and had a small amount of discussion with a friend who didn't really think it ended whereas I did. My reasons difffered I think from yours, more to do with Igor's climatic detachment from the wrong he has been cultivated in. He leaves his Dad in chains while he walks free, and he finally faces up to the truth in his life. Vaguely reminiscient of the final scene in Dead Man Walking in this regard.

The film kind of works as a depiction of the fall in reverse. Igor has grown up shut away in a dark house, with a moral compass that his father has provided cased within a huge magnet. And then Amidu, hardly morally upstanding himself and who must know what Igor is like, trusts him with that which is most precious to him. And from that seed Igor stumbles unwittingly into a unentagling him from his suffocating past. Perhaps it's as much the parable of the sower in reverse, but you get the point.

I also wondered about the boy's mother. Dead? Deserted her husband when she found out what he was like? Did her departure trigger the moral slide of Roger?

Anyway - must work

Matt

#14 Ron Reed

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 11:54 AM

QUOTE(MattPage @ Feb 20 2006, 06:51 AM) View Post

Saw this yesterday...


Nice insights, especially about the effect that being trusted has on the young man's life. Ah, such films! (And no, stef, you're not a dupe of Dardenne Faction peer pressure! We would never do that to anyone...)

Matt, when you comment on LA PROMESSE, and connect it to other stories, it brings to my mind another film we both loved, also about illegal immigrants.

?

Ron

P.S. Oh, and I'm not thinking about DOGVILLE, though it's been on my mind lately how significant a theme that is in that film as well, a theme I've mostly overlooked in it because of what I take to be larger spiritual/theological resonances, but which should be part of thinking about D-VILLE, if only because the film maker says that's what it's about. (I'm looking forward to the sequel, DOGVILLE & Z-BOYS: it's about what happens when skateboarders come to an abandoned mining town and...)

#15 MattPage

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 12:37 PM

I can only think of DPT OTTOMH(?)

BTW doesn DOgville and Z boys need to go i that thread we had a while back with a whole heap of those?

Matt

#16 Doug C

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 03:12 PM

I don't suppose you saw this as part of the NFT series, Matt?

I like how you wrote that Igor "finally faces up to the truth in his life." In his diary, Luc refers to his admiration for the writings of Emmanuel Levinas several times, and notes that the philospher died while they were shooting La Promesse; he openly wonders if their film "would have been possible" without him. Levinas was famous for his "face to face" philosphy of encountering the Other, which he claimed informed all philosphy. This is from his 1995 New York Times obit:

QUOTE

Dr. Levinas's alternative to traditional approaches was a philosophy that made personal ethical responsibility to others the starting point and primary focus for philosophy, rather than a secondary reflection that followed explorations of the nature of existence and the validity of knowledge.

"Ethics precedes ontology" (the study of being) is a phrase often used to sum up his stance. Instead of the thinking "I" epitomized in "I think, therefore I am" -- the phrase with which Rene Descartes launched much of modern philosophy -- Dr. Levinas began with an ethical "I." For him, even the self is possible only with its recognition of "the Other," a recognition that carries responsibility toward what is irreducibly different.

Knowledge for Dr. Levinas must be preceded by an ethical relationship. It is a line of thought similar to Martin Buber's idea of "I and thou," but with the emphasis on a relationship of respect and responsibility for the other person rather than a relationship of mutuality and dialogue.


So much of the Dardenne's work deals with individuals facing up to their lives through an ethical encounter with another. When Igor finally leaves his father in order to save Assita, and finally confesses the truth to her, her back is turned, but she turns around and faces him in a scene that is almost electric in its silent mixture of confrontation and communion. It's the perfect dramatic climax of the "face to face" encounter.


(Incidentally, Sony's trailer is up for The Child, but it's not especially creative so you may want to wait.)

#17 MattPage

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 03:26 AM

No, it wasn't part of the NFT series Doug - in fact it was my first Dardennes experience.

Thanks for the philiosophy quote BTW.

Matt

#18 Overstreet

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 12:35 PM

Finally saw this, and I appreciate all of the comments above.

At this point, I have very little to add, except to say that it feels to me that the Dardennes are giving us a whole new set of Decalogue episodes.

And I want to add that it seems as though the conclusion of these films, if considered in the order of release, become more and more complicated. The ending of La Promesse completes an awakening of conscience and first steps of real growing up and acting responsibly. Rosetta ends on something that begs for interpretation, and The Son even more so. L'Enfant's conclusion is almost confounding--it's interesting to see the different possibilities that emerge from that last scene when it's placed under different lenses.

Anyway, The Son remains my personal favorite, and Rosetta a close second, partly because the central characters seem more fully developed, and the films take us deeper into their experience of the world. Both La Promesse and L'Enfant focused on characters who were more enigmatic and unpredictable... at least to me. That's not a problem--I love all four films and really need to collect them for frequent revisitation--but it doesn't draw me in as powerfully.

#19 Overstreet

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 07:04 PM

Feast your eyes.