The Kid with a Bike image The Kid with a Bike imageThe Kid with a Bike image

May 04 — May 10

The Kid with a Bike

Not Rated, 87 mins. In French with English subtitles.

Link to film's website

Fri 5:30 7:15
Sat & Sun 2:00 5:00 7:00
Mon-Thurs 5:30

Unless otherwise noted, films begin on Friday and run through the next Thursday.

The Dardenne brothers—Belgian writing-directing team Jean-Pierre and Luc—have gradually gained a critical and cult following in the United States since their 1999 feature, Rosetta, nabbed the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Dardenne heroes are the homeless, the poor, immigrants searching for a better tomorrow, the abused and neglected—people we don’t generally see in movies. The Kid with a Bike is 11-year-old Cyril (Thomas Doret), abandoned by his father and left in a youth facility. Refusing to believe that his father left him for good, he tries to escape. A sympathetic woman named Samantha (Cécile de France) intercedes on Cyril’s behalf and becomes his guardian on weekends. With a bicycle Samantha gets for him, Cyril sets out to track down his father. This film invites comparisons to Vittorio De Sica’s neo-realist masterpiece The Bicycle Thief. The Dardennes invert the earlier film’s storyline (an unemployed man, accompanied by his son, searches a city for his stolen bicycle) to reflect the realities of 21st century Europe (now it’s an abandoned boy with a bicycle searching for his father). As critic Andrew O’Hehir lamented, it’s difficult to convey the appeal of a Dardenne brothers film—their plot summaries don’t grab viewers. Dardenne cultists tend to be movie fans who watched a Dardenne film out of curiosity—and now voraciously seek out every new one. Part of the magic, O’Hehir suggests, is the no-nonsense filmmaking: there’s not a wasted moment; every shot, every line of dialogue, is important. Maybe it’s just the fact that the Dardennes aren’t afraid to film tough-minded stories while suggesting that hope still exists; not in a phony-uplifting way, but in realistic fashion, showing that everyone has choices, some of them difficult. The Kid with a Bike is emotional, honest, and totally captivating—perhaps the Dardennes’ most accessible film, and one of their best.

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