L’Enfant won the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or, and it’s certainly the Dardennes’ most accessible film. Their handheld camera catches tiny flickers of emotion that few filmmakers come near; you feel as if you’re watching the movements of a soul. Bruno’s final act, which has nothing to do with his own child, is psychologically and poetically right—every act in the film has a mythic resonance. The child is not just the baby, and not just the children Bruno exploits in his thefts; it’s also Bruno himself. All the same, it’s not as if L’Enfant has a great deal of moral complexity. I mean, selling one’s child: Bad. Hiring moppets to rob people: Bad. Learning the meaning of sacrifice: Holy. And wholly predictable, alas.
V for Vendetta
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Thank You for Smoking
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L’enfant (The Child)
Directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. Sony Pictures Classics. R.