Saturday, April 15, 2006

L'Enfant (The Child) d. Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 2005

Michael Sicinski writes about the Dardenne Bros' film prior to L'Enfant, The Son, mentioning that critical consensus - or at least the closest thing to one - of that film is that it is difficult to talk about in normal terms. The film resists - like Avant Garde cinema, says Sicinski - words, rationalization, and instead is too perfect for words. The last part of that is an obvious critical cop-out (talking about The Son in useful terms is difficult), but there's something to it. The same can be said of L'Enfant.

Thematically, the film is simple; the child here is - sure - the baby conceived by Bruno and Sonia, but also Bruno himself: ergo, we have a film "about" the growing pains of responsibility. Kinda' interesting. However, the tone is where the complexity - and near-greatness - of the film lies. The Dardenne's maintain a sense of mundanity while also keeping the film at an absolute zenith of tension. The space the film operates within - a sort of hyper quotidian -, not simply the storyline (although it's that too), kept this viewer's attention rapt; I completely lost sense of time watching this film - I still don't know, it may have been 80 minutes, it may have been 180 minutes.


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