NYFF Spotlight: The Kid With a Bike
Posted by Jeffrey Bloomer on 9.23.2011
Why you should see it:
The latest from world-cinema fixtures Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, The Kid with a Bike follows a boy, Cyril (newcomer Thomas Doret), who struggles to accept that he has been abandoned by his father. As he searches for him in his working-class Belgian neighborhood, he begins to spend time with a hairdresser (Cécile De France, Hereafter) and a local criminal who threatens to lead him astray. With Doret's heartbreaking performance at its center and the Dardennes’ trademark attention to the moral complexity of everyday life, The Kid with a Bike is another must see from two of the world’s preeminent filmmakers.
The Kid With a Bike shared the Grand Prix at Cannes. It also played at the Toronto International and Munich Film Festivals.
About the directors:
Two-time winners of the Palme D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne are two of the most acclaimed and deeply admired filmmakers at work today. Their deliberate, naturalistic movies slowly constrict as they follow seemingly ordinary characters who live on the edges of society. With no music and no-frills, affectless photography and production design, their films, like The Son (2002) and The Child (2005), proceed quietly with slow-burning suspense as characters confront moral predicaments much more complex than they first appear.
What the critics are saying:
Peter Debruge for Variety: “Belgium's Dardenne brothers make movies that remind you the most compelling stories are unfolding right outside your window, rather than in outer space, the distant past or wherever cinema usually takes us. But rather than diminishing the medium, they elevate it, as in 'The Kid With a Bike,' another fest-ready, arthouse-bound neorealist snapshot that subtly echoes virtual soul brother Vittorio de Sica's 'Shoeshine' and 'Bicycle Thieves.'"
Andrew O'Hehir for Salon: "An edge-of-your-seat emotional roller-coaster ride about ordinary people in a nondescript neighborhood, it's sometimes terrifying, often heart-rending and completely worth it."
What the NYFF programmers say:
“The Kid with a Bike, which won the Grand Jury Prize in Cannes this year, is the new film by the Dardenne brothers, festival habitués. It’s the story of a young boy who’s been abandoned by his father. He’s living in a children’s home, but he runs away because he doesn’t believe his father abandoned him and he’s trying to recover his bike that was left in his former apartment. In the process, he meets this lovely young hairdresser played by Cecile de France, who was in our closing night film last year, Hereafter, by Clint Eastwood. She takes an interest in the boy and becomes his weekend guardian, but the boy is still very distrustful of adults and searching for his father. Like all of the Dardennes’ movies to one extent or another, it’s a beautifully understated drama of moral responsibility and the relationships between parents and children." —Scott Foundas, Associate Program Director