By Katie Tham


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is a film produced by the brothers of Dardennes, Jean-Pierre And Luc Dardenne in 2005. The 100mins film shows a much happier scenario of teenage pregnancy, where the girlfriend – Sonia, in her eighteen, gave birth to a baby boy, and is still in the loving arms of her boyfriend – Bruno. Despite living a directionless life, the young family of three, live by each day begging strangers for money and committing theft to support themselves. There are double climax scenarios in Le’Enfant. Firstly, when Bruno sold his son to a black market connection and then tries to retrieve back his baby when Sonia fainted from the shocking news. Secondly, when Bruno and his theft gang was caught stealing a handbag from a lady whom Bruno had been tailing. Sonia’s visit to the jail where Bruno had been putted in was powerfully emotional. Both characters conveyed their consolation, sadness and regret into a stream of tears and emotions. No words were exchange, but the audience can easily understood from this silent scene. Le’Enfant also won Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2005.

Click here to see trailer of Le’Enfant : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nbBpVo9_pg

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Cultural significance:

Besides revolving around the fact that teenage pregnancy in Westernized country is prevailing, Le’Enfant shows us a common social behavior that is the root cause of most crime. When young kids in the 21st century live aimlessly in this world, they do not have a solid purpose to set foot in life and stay focus. Hence, quick benefits such as committing theft to earn quick cash makes them feel a sense of achievement and purpose. Such thrill conflicts with humanity at times. An example in the film is when Bruno himself, makes his newborn son as asource of wealth instead of taking up responsibility as a father.

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Historical significance:

According to Jean-pierre Dardennes’s bilography on IMDB website http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0201094/bio

Dardennes’ trademark is to film with hand-held camera, which explains the insistently moving scenes captured in Le’Enfant.

Almost 80% of the takes in Le’Enfant camera maintains at an intimate level. This claustrophobic proximity between the camera and the characters (either on facial expressions or particularly capturing their hand movements), feels rather attention-grabbing instead of being intrusive. Perhaps, such atheist approach allows director to capture the emotional, spiritual and psychological essence of the film.

Apart from their atheist approach, which focuses largely on individual innovation rather than institutional processes ,Dardennes’ brothers do not use film score that is specially crafted for the film. Majority of their film do not have film’s soundtrack too.

I reckon that the Dardennes’ brothers find having a film score might defeat the purpose of engaging the audience in the purist form of communication.

Apparently, the Dardennes’ brothers broke the rules of Dogme 95, (which claims to be a manifesto for purity in film-making) to redefine a possible pure approach and broke out of Cannes film festival as winners in 2005.

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Aesthetical significance:

Dardennes brothers have a solid theme for every film they made. According to David Fear, Time Out New York, they find “beauty in their brokedown hometown of Seraing, Belgium, the industrial city where all of their movies take place, and they continue to focus on society’s so-called bottom dwellers”. (David Fear)The brothers made such film to show to world how difficult it is for human to live in an amoral world of unforgiving nature of reality. They showed empathy for those who are constantly pinned under poverty and out casted by society. Their pulsating drama of moral awakening engages their audience.

A comment by Armond White of New York Press stated on the official website reviews that “L’Enfant has sharp, realistic detail (Bruno wastes money buying Sonia a black leather jacket to match his own, a poignant item of materialist romance), plus expressive, resonant imagery (Bruno’s vivid green T-shirt symbolizes greed, Sonia’s vibrant red sweater, heart).” (Armond White) Using colour to represent the character’s personality is another rare form of communication.

The Dardennes’ way of conveying a story does not have to use state-of-art techniques to film as their plot is highly artistic and easily understood. “Through plain, atmospheric camera work” and Bruno and Sonia’s character, the Dardennes’ fully exhibits that our morality defines how we value the life of others.

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Katie Tham is the creative director on how to be creatively rebellious. She devotes her time to laugh and shower the world with warmth. Her love moto is not about finding the right one to love, but how you can love the found one right. Be sure to stay connected with her unglamorous via her instagram @emberiakatt.

Jean-pierre Dardennes’s bilography IMDb. 2005. Le’Enfant (2005). [online] Available at: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0201094/bio [Accessed: 22 June 2013].

David Fear Review IMDb. 2005. Le’Enfant (2005). [online] Available at: http://www.sonyclassics.com/thechild/reviews.html [Accessed: 22 June 2013].

Armond White Review IMDb. 2005. Le’Enfant (2005). [online] Available at: http://www.sonyclassics.com/thechild/reviews.html [Accessed: 22 June 2013].


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