The Kid With A Bike, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (2011)
ALTERNATELY chaming and disturbing, this art-house film features a bike as the familiar metaphoric vehicle of youth and freedom
Twelve-year-old Cyril, has been abandoned by his father to a childrens’ home. He is consumed by the need to find first his bicycle and, once he has regained his mobility, his errant parent. His tenacity inevitably leads to trouble, but also brings him to the attention of a kindly, young hairdresser in his old neighbourhood, who takes him under her wing, and eventually agrees to a formal fostering arrangement.
Cécile de France and Thomas Doret, in the main roles, carry the film, which picks a highly effective line between fairy tale and neo-realism, taking as its backdrop one of Belgium’s grittier suburbs. The title and poster over-state the centrality of the bike to the plot, but this detracts not one iota from this film’s appeal. It stands comparison with The Bicycle Thieves, and underlines the bicycle’s semiotic suggestion of innocence, youth and possibility.
* The dialogue is in French, but the DVD comes with subtitles.
TD Sep 12