Big honours for a little country
by Aurore Engelen
22/05/2011 - More than ever, the close of this year’s Cannes festival had a feeling of déjà vu for Belgian cinema. The Grand Prize for The Kid With a Bike [trailer, film focus] provides confirmation, if any were needed, that, far from the turmoil and agitation, brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne are quietly building a significant, coherent, socially-themed body of work that continues to leave its mark on the filmmakers of today and tomorrow.
Very discreetly, the Dardenne brothers are reinventing themselves, film after film, and their work was strong enough to stand out in this year’s particularly dense Cannes competition.
After the strong impression made by The Promise in the Directors’ Fortnight in 1996; the Palme d’Or awards for Rosetta [trailer] and The Child [trailer, film focus]; Best Actress for Rosetta; Best Actor for The Son, and Best Screenplay for Lorna’s Silence [trailer, film focus]; this sixth prize confirms that the selection of the brothers’ films at Cannes is never a matter of mere personal preference, and that, despite their differences, all the juries find resonance in their very human films.
Besides the Grand Prize for the two Cannes champions, there were also two accolades – the SACD and CICAE Prizes – for Bouli Lanners’s The Giants [trailer, film focus], which closed the Directors’ Fortnight with a flourish and captivated viewers. This marks a second win for Lanners, whose Eldorado [trailer], shown in the 2008 Fortnight, won the Europa Cinemas Label Award and Regards Jeunes Award.
The next generation also seems to be working its way up, for young director Valéry Rosier won the Kodak Discovery Prize in Critics’ Week for his short film Sundays, and a special mention from the Petit Rail d’Or jury. Pierre Schoeller’s The Minister [trailer, film focus], co-produced by the Dardenne brothers’ company Les Films du Fleuve, further scooped the FIPRESCI Prize in the Un Certain Regard section.
Finally, the Dardennes were not the only Belgians to receive a prize at the closing ceremony on Sunday evening. Young Flemish director Wannes Destoop picked up the Jury Prize in the short film category for Swimsuit 46.
(Translated from French)