Archive of films The Child / L' enfant

Belgium / France
2005, 95 min

Section: Horizons
Year: 2005

The Dardenne brothers got their second Palme d´Or at Cannes this year (the first was for Rosetta in 1999). This time they also focus on young people living on the fringes of society, except that, unlike Rosetta, Sona and Bruno aren´t feeding off frustration and anger; on the contrary, their way of existing from one day to the next suits them. But the problems start when they have a child: Bruno, in particular, doesn´t feel he can take on the responsibility of fatherhood.


Eighteen-year-old Sonia and the somewhat older Bruno have just had a baby. They have no place to go but it doesn’t seem to bother them: they are used to living from day to day. Bruno earns his keep through petty theft and the odd drug sale, but he seems to love Sonia and is perhaps even willing to take care of the child. But when Sonia sends him and junior on a walk, Bruno recalls a tempting offer from the previous day to sell the child. After thinking hard about it, he decides to do it. Receiving instructions by telephone, he takes his son to the door of an unknown apartment; soon he is counting an envelope full of money. He can’t understand why Sonia is so horrified: they can make another kid but they need money now. Only when he realizes that Sonia is adamant does he return to the scene of the crime to find junior. After waiting in a mysterious garage he locates his offspring – but has to pay double to get him back. How will Bruno, himself still a child, cope with all the trouble he’s gotten himself into?

About the director

Jean-Pierre Dardenne (b. 1951, Engis, Belgium) is a professional actor, and his brother Luc Dardenne (b. 1954) graduated in philosophy. Together they founded the documentary production company Dérives, which became Films Dérives Production in 1981. They at first focused on video documentaries: Le chant du rossignol (1978), Lorsque le bateau de Léon M. déscendit la Meuse pour la premiere fois (1979), Pour que la guerre s’acheve, les murs devaient s’écrouler (1980), R... ne répond plus(1981), Lecons d’une université volant (1982), Regarde Jonathan/Jean Louvet, son oeuvre (1983). Then they shifted to features, including: Falsch (1986), The Promise(La promesse, 1996), Rosetta (Palme d’Or and Best Actress ex aequo at the 1999 Cannes fest), and The Son (Le fils, 2002). The last three films were presented at the
Karlovy Vary IFF.


Celluloid Dreams
2, rue Turgot, 75009, Paris
Tel: +33 149 700 370

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Horizons
Director: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Screenplay: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Dir. of Photography: Alain Marcoen
Editor: Marie-Hélène Dozo
Producer: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Denis Freyd
Production: Les Films du Flueve, Archipel 35, RTBF, Scope Invest, Arte France Cinéma
Cast: Jérémie Renier, Olivier Gourmet, Fabrizio Rongione
Contact: Celluloid Dreams


Sébastien Chesneau

Distributor, Sales Agent


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