The brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have established an international reputation for their emotionally powerful realist cinema. Inspired by their home turf of Liege-Seraing, a former industrial hub of French-speaking southern Belgium, they have crafted a series of fiction films that blends acute observation of life on the social margins with moral fables for the postmodern age. This volume analyses the brothers' career from their leftist video documentaries of the 1970s and 1980s through their debut as directors of fiction films in the late 1980s and early 1990s to their six major achievements from The Promise (1996) to The Kid with a Bike (2011), an oeuvre that includes two Golden Palms at the Cannes film festival, for Rosetta (1999) and The Child (2005). It argues that the ethical dimension of the Dardennes' work complements rather than precludes their sustained expression of a fundamental political sensibility.
Philip Mosley is professor of English and comparative literature at the Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of many works, including Split Screen: Belgian Cinema and Cultural Identity (2001) and a translation from French of The Book of the Snow by Francois Jacqmin, which was shortlisted for the 2011 Griffin Poetry Prize.
Acknowledgements 1. Responsible Realists 2. Cinematic Reference Points 3. The Video Documentaries, 1974-83: In the Beginning Was the Resistance; The Nightingale's Song; When Leon M.'s Boat First Sailed down the River Meuse; For the War to End, the Walls Had to Crumble; R... No Longer Answers; Lessons from a University on the Fly; Look at Jonathan; Jean Louvet, His Work 4. Foraying into Fiction, 1986-92: Falsch; They're Running ... Everyone's Running; You're on My Mind 5. Breakthrough: The Promise, 1996 6. First Palme d'Or: Rosetta, 1999 7. Pushing the Envelope: The Son, 2002 8. Second Palme d'Or: The Child, 2005 9. A Minor Shift: The Silence of Lorna, 2008 Afterword: The Kid with a Bike, 2011 Filmography Bibliography Index