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A disturbing film about a young Belgian couple and their newborn child,L'Enfanttells a heartbreaking tale that is less about love than about the possibility of moral redemption. We quickly learn what kind of people Sonia and Bruno are. Sonia (Deborah Francois) is a sweet teenager who has just given birth to Bruno's (Jeremie Renier) child. Instead of visiting her and seeing their baby in the hospital, Bruno sublets her apartment to "friends" who slam the door in her face when she tries to return home. We do not know what Sonia does for a living, but we know she's diligent enough to maintain a small apartment and keep her pantry stocked with instant soup. Bruno, on the other hand, refuses to take a job. Instead, he leads a gang of thieves who're approximately half his age (and height). Still, Sonia loves him. And Bruno, who may be incapable of love, enjoys the carefree benefits of having a girlfriend who doesn't expect too much. All this changes when Bruno does the unthinkable--he sells their child. He calmly explains to her, "I thought we'd have another." Overnight, Sonia changes from a little girl to a bitter woman who no longer excuses Bruno's behavior. When he returns to her apartment claiming he loves her, she spits back, "You're lying. You can't help it." Not realizing the irony of his own actions, he then begs her for money. Renier and Francois are formidable actors who convey feelings with subtle nuances. Though the film is in French, the viewer never feels lost. The subtitles certainly help, but the actors are so good that their intonations and expressions speak volumes themselves.L'Enfant--a 2005 Cannes winner by filmmaking brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne--is a brutal film to watch not because of any gore or violence, but because of the frailty of the characters and their desperation to survive. In his quest to return the child to Sonia, Bruno attempts to become a better human being. But the viewer is never left with the satisfaction of knowing that he will ever be able to truly redeem himself.--Jae-Ha Kim
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CastOlivier Gourmet, Jérémie Renier, Déborah François, Jérémie Segard, Fabrizio Rongione
DirectorJean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Screen WriterJean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
DVD Release Date:  August 15, 2006
Runtime:  100 minutes
Studio:  Sony Pictures
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review by . September 12, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
The Dardenne brothers' latest film is another remarkable and powerful experiment in realism, that never lets up or backs off or lets you ease away your attention from the two troubled Belgian teenagers who have just become parents. What the film is really about, it seems to me, is the question of what that means. Sonia thinks it means they will "settle down" and Bruno will get a job and stop being a ringleader for younger boys engaged in petty theft. Bruno doesn't know what to think. It's just another …
review by . December 14, 2006
'L'enfant' quickly graps and keeps your interest. It has some purposely lingering moments that develop a tension in a European way that pauses to capture a face at a certain moment. (Which is not unlike Ingmar Bergman films in this sense.) Although what I like about 'L'enfant' is that it is disturbing, but unique. The unthinkable happens and the main protagonist doesn't have the moral capacity to absorb the significance of his actions. The movie is not unlike an urban 'Lord of the Flies' where the …
review by . August 28, 2006
The writing and directing team of Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne once again have created a film that is harsh, difficult to watch, and tremendously honest and recalcitrant to opt out for happy endings. These two artists manage to address strange issues, play them as realistic as feasible and them allow the audience reaction to complete the tale.    Bruno (Jérémie Renier) and Sonia (Déborah François) are two teenage drifters who have just given birth to a baby nine days …
L' enfant
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