Who ever thought filmmaking doesn’t work when two people are doing it together are proved wrong with these two. If it’s because they share the same genes or not, one thing we know: The Dardenne Brothers complement each other. That’s why they have twice received the Palme d’Or in Cannes. Only seven other filmmakers can say that about themselves.
This year they’re back in Cannes with their new film TWO DAYS ONE NIGHT, starring Marion Cotillard as a woman who tries to convince her colleagues to forgo their annual bonuses so she can keep her job.
From time to time you stumble upon a film that reminds you of why you love cinema, a film you want to discuss with everyone. I felt like this when I first watched THE CHILD by the Dardenne Brothers. The film portrays a couple living in social difficulties, which get more complicated when they have a baby. Bruno, always on the search of possibilities to gain some cash, doesn’t see the baby as his child but as an object he can use to make money. That’s why he decides to sell his own Baby on the black market. This is a dramatic subject which makes viewers uncomfortable. The way the Dardenne Brothers approach it only intensifies this unease: A quiet film, which shows what we humans are capable of in certain situations. Not necessarily judgmental, but observative. The Jury of Cannes seemed to be as captivated by the film as me, since they awarded it with the Palme d’Or in 2005.
At this Point Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne had already won a Palme d’Or with their film ROSETTA in 1999. It focuses on a 17 year old girl who lives in a trailer park with her alcoholic mother. She makes numerous attempts to secure a job in order to escape her miserable situation and start a normal life. The film received a lot of recognition and lead to a new law in Belgium for teenagers getting paid at least the minimum wage. A great example of how independent cinema can have an impact on society!
In all of their films, including THE PROMISE(1996) and THE SON(2002), the Dardenne Brothers show the lower class life in Belgium and aim to portray young people at the fringes of society. Immigrants, unemployed or inhabitants of shelter- the excluded become the subject of their character studies.
ÉCU is inspired by this Power Duo- because their films really matter.