Expatica news

Belgian brothers scooptop Cannes accolade

23 May 2005

BRUSSELS – The Belgian film ‘The Child’ has won the best picture award at the Cannes film festival.

It’s the second time that its directors, brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have scooped the Palme d’Or award.

They also won best picture in 1999 for ‘Rosetta’, a story about a struggling blue-collar worker with an alcoholic mother.

Their second win on Saturday came as something of a surprise since ‘The Child’ hadn’t been widely tipped by pundits.

It stars Jeremie Renier as a 20-year-old petty thief who sells his son on the black market and then regrets it.

His search to get his son back and to win back his estranged girlfriend is a gritty, but optimistic, tale.

On Monday, critics said the film was another example of the Dardenne brothers’ successful depiction of working-class life in Wallonia.

Jean-Pierre, 54, and Luc, 51, who come from Liege, studied drama before embarking on a film career, making short films.

In 1978, they made their first documentary, ‘Le Chant du rossignol’ (The Nightingale’s Song) about Belgian resistance during World War Two.

In 2002, the brothers also won the ecumenical jury prize for ‘The Son’ with Olivier Gourmet taking the best actor award for his part in the film.

The brothers dedicated their latest Cannes prize to French journalist Florence Aubenas and driver Hussein Hanun al-Saudi, who were kidnapped in Iraq.

Asked why, Jean-Pierre Dardenne said: “Maybe it’s because the Cannes Film Festival is broadcast all around the world and it will give them some hope.

“Hopefully it will show the kidnappers that we are as obstinate as they are. Maybe it will help.”

Luc Dardenne told the press that he and his older brother always write their films the same way. First they have a long talk about the subject they want to tackle.

“I write the draft of the screenplay, which I send to Jean-Pierre. He makes his corrections, his suggestions and then we write the other versions together.”

During filming, one brother handles stage direction while the other watches the monitor.

“Our films are linked by a genealogy, or, at the very least, an intimate relationship,” said Dardenne.

“For example, we like to shoot in locations where we’ve shot films in the past. It helps us, a little like the flow of a river carrying soil and gravel. It also places limitations on us, which is always stimulating for creativity.”

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news