The basics‘The Kid with a Bike’ is a Belgium film that came out in 2011. It is a realistic drama that is set in Seraing, Belgium. (French spoken part of Belgium) and was written and directed by the Dardenne brothers (Jean-Pierre and Luc). This film is about rejection, parental figures, choices in life and the paths that we take when we make them.
What is this film about?
The film starts with the main character, Cyril a boy of only 11, repeatedly try to call his father’s on the phone from the children’s home where he is only meant to be staying temporary. Everyone there is trying to explain to him that his father has left but in disbelief of this, he plans on escaping and running back to his father’s old apartment to see him and to get his bike. After a few attempts he manages to escape and get to his father’s old apartment block. As the children’s home workers find Cyril, and try to take him back, in his last attempt to stay there he holds on to a random woman with all he’s got, but eventually they break him free from her. To prove to Cyril the horrible truth they let him take a look around at his father’s apartment, only to find it empty.
Later on back at the children’s home, Cyril gets a visitor and it’s the lady (Samantha) that he held in the apartments. She has come to drop something off for him, his bike which she brought off somebody who claims he brought it from Cyril’s dad. Still in disbelief that his father is would do something like that he presumes that it must have been stolen. Due to this act of kindness Cyril asks Samantha if he can stay with her on weekends and she says yes.
My views on it
In all parts of this film (story, characters, editing etc.) there is something I like to call a beautiful roughness to it which makes the experience of this film feel more real and because of this it connects with the audience on a deeper level. For example the reason why Samantha fosters Cyril on the weekends is not explained. In most films this motivation would have been explained because they would want something to justify it, they would want A, to clarify B, so that everything is explained, Luc Dardenne comments on this in an interview ‘We were adamant that the audience would never find out why Samantha is drawn to Cyril. […] We didn’t want the past to explain the present.’. So there are things in this film that are not explained, the editing is not really seamless, the camera is a bit shaky, but this creates that beautiful roughness. Due to this beautiful roughness it goes against most cinema norms (mainly Hollywood) and it almost stops feeling like you are watching a film and it becomes more of a gate way into these people’s lives. When you start viewing it like that the characters become more real to you and you can really connect with them. Because of this connection you have with the characters and the highs and lows they go through, this makes a film that really pulls at you heartstrings and for a drama that’s a good thing.
The acting in this film I must say is amazing. Cécile De France who plays Samantha is perfect for the roll and pulls it off ‘to the tee’ but the star of the film has to be Thomas Doret who plays Cyril. His acting quality surpasses his years and his portrayal of a kid going through this situation could not have been done better. It almost seems like the Dardenne brothers found a kid going through this and just put a camera in front of him without him noticing.
I would recommend this film as it is moving, powerful and an emotional roller-coaster where you do not just watch it, you experience it. You can definitely see why this won Grand Prize of the Jury at Cannes.Favourite Quote
Guy Catoul (Cyril’s father): ‘Don’t try to see me again’
Rating 4/5 stars