Tuesday, May 5, 2009

L'ENFANT

by Tobias
> view trailer

Like Robert Bresson, or Roberto Rossellini, the Dardenne brothers have some serious theological undertones to their cinema and they don't try to hide the influence of their faith on their work. Don't let the christian stuff turn you off though, being very aware of the negative connotations that can come along with it. You won't find any traces of disgusting fundamentalism or obnoxious evangelical showmanship. No, the Dardenne's films exhibit a spirituality born of genuine compassion and redemption. Their objective hand-held camera work gives THE CHILD (L'ENFANT) the gritty realism of a documentary, to me, a documentary about what true humanism is at its very core.

The main character is a sinner and thief who has made up his mind to sell his newborn son on the black market, and I don't want to give away too much, but the film then takes a path through a series of emotionally painful events that eventually beat the concept of real salvation into the viewer's mind.

Like Hirokazu Kore-Eda's NOBODY KNOWS in 2004, I found this picture to be so emotionally devastating at times that it was almost physically painful to watch. However, for me, the agonizing sadness a very empathetic viewer endures during the film is just rewarded by the overwhelming catharsis at the end. So transcendentally spiritual, it has put an everlasting effect on me after viewing, and it just makes the sappiness of Hollywood endings even more obvious, if they weren't already. It's a miracle how profoundly deep art can move a person, and this film is very much a miracle of modern cinema for me.

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