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"The story of people who come from elsewhere"

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Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne • Directors

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- Lorna's Silence Best Screenplay Cannes 2008

Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne • Directors

Surrounded by the cast of The Silence of Lorna [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Arta Dobroshi
interview: Arta Dobroshi
interview: Jean-Pierre et Luc Dardenne
interview: Olivier Bronckart
film profile
]
– shown in official competition at the 61st Cannes Film Festival – Belgian directors Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne talked to the international press about the story behind the feature which, through the portrait of a woman, explores the difficult subject of illegal immigration in Western Europe.

Cineuropa: Where did the idea for The Silence of Lorna [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Arta Dobroshi
interview: Arta Dobroshi
interview: Jean-Pierre et Luc Dardenne
interview: Olivier Bronckart
film profile
]
come from?

Jean-Pierre Dardenne: It’s based on a story told to us by a young woman, before we made The Child [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Luc & Jean-Pierre Dardenne
film profile
]
. A member of our team recommended that we go and meet her and one of her experiences in particular inspired us, at least in terms of the overall situation, for the true story is quite different from the film.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

The film offers a harsh vision of Europe.
Jean-Pierre Dardenne: Even though the film is set in Western Europe, what interested us essentially was the story of people who come from elsewhere, how they arrive and what methods (which are not to be praised) they are willing to use in order to realise their dreams.

Lorna is a human being with her own paradoxes, a woman who mistrusts everybody but learns to have faith at a certain point. In order for the story to work, she had to come from a country outside the European Union. She is Albanian, but she could just as well have been Brazilian or Russian. We can’t fight against waves of migration like we thought we could ten years ago. Today, we have to adopt a more fraternal and human approach in welcoming these people, without lapsing into naivety either, for those who hire clandestine workers will only take advantage of the situation.

The physical circulation of money is very present in the film.
Jean-Pierre Dardenne: Money governs our relations with others to a certain extent, which is not necessarily negative. In this film, all the characters want to change their lives and the only way of achieving this in our day and age is with money. Unlike many films, we don’t treat money as if it were something shameful: we show it for what it is. And we want to depict human characters whom viewers won‘t judge as they do in real life.

In your previous works, the camera focused very closely on the characters, whereas in this film it seems to maintain a certain distance.
Luc Dardenne: We used a more static camera because we wanted to watch this mysterious Lorna. It was a case of not moving with her and mimicking her energy; we wanted to record rather than write with the camera. And we also chose to shoot the film in Liège rather than in Seraing because it’s less deserted. Placing Lorna and her secret amidst people who know nothing about her makes her even more strange and conveys a greater sense of fear and solitude.

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