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The Kid with a Bike

Directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne

Belgium, 2011

Cornerhouse, 1 April 2012

The Kid with a Bike

An intensely moving film, as moving as the kid’s search for someplace where he can belong.

He is in a children’s home, his mother nowhere to be seen, his father having taken flight.  Through good fortune the kid gets his bike back and moves forward, his need propelling him through space.  Perhaps, on reflection, the bike as a metaphor for love/passion/engagement is a trifle overdone – but it’s still a beautiful device.  And it’s a beautiful film, a modern-day Les quatre cents coups – the comparison with Truffaut’s film is, I’m afraid, inevitable.

There are some scary moments, such as when a gang leader goes all out to groom him, get him into the fold.  It doesn’t work, and for unpredictable reasons; he cannot be tamed.

Taken as a whole, the film is like looking at an enignmatic snapshot.  A great film with a great central performance by Thomas Doret.