Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (Contemporary Film Directors) by Joseph Mai

By Joseph Mai

For good over a decade, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have produced hugely unique and ethically charged movies that immerse their audiences in an extreme and embodied viewing adventure. Their paintings has always attracted overseas popularity, together with the infrequent feat of 2 Palmes d'Or at Cannes. during this first book-length examine of the Belgian brothers, Joseph Mai provides refined shut analyses in their directorial sort and explores the numerous philosophical matters handled of their motion pictures (especially the ethics of Emmanuel Levinas). Mai discusses the Dardennes' assorted and looking occupation from its inception within the past due Seventies, beginning with the working-class political cognizance and misplaced utopias in their documentary interval; passing via their transition towards fictional narrative, experimental strategies, and familial issues; and completing with a sequence of in-depth and philosophically trained interpretations of the brothers' more moderen paintings. In such hugely influential motion pictures reminiscent of los angeles promesse, Rosetta, The Son, and the kid, the brothers have recast filmmaking via what Mai calls a "sensuous realism"--realism in a position to touching the viewers with the main compelling difficulties and ethical dilemmas of latest society. This quantity additionally positive factors an interview within which the Dardennes speak about their method of movie construction and the course of actors.

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The viewer gradually surmises that they are arguing over the best way to make a tracking shot of the Meuse. ” Luc Dardenne’s body jerks around in the car as it lurches ahead; he is not in control, but holds onto the camera tightly. As in the shot of the train in Regarde Jonathan, the viewer’s position is joggled and disoriented, sped up and slowed down. We then see the credits. This sequence is just a prologue to the main body of the film. A cut brings us to a television studio with a producer, Jean, and editor as they piece together a film devoted to the theme of speed in modern life.

Stylistically, Léon M. and Le journal cut across the grain of what one might expect from militant video. Spoken in voiceover by Luc Dardenne, the first words of the lost video Song of the Nightingale set the lyrical tone for these films: “Suspended between the walls of yesterday’s citadel and today’s city, the song of their resistance, like the Song of the Nightingale seeking a new land of repose, soars over the territory of our memory” (quoted by Aubenas 2005, 47). Both Leon and Edmond of Le journal are lyrical wanderers, dreamers whose actions and thoughts meander, independently of unions or political parties.

The act is quickly passed, hardly noticeable. But slowly, once the stylistic mediations are eventually abandoned, acts like this of touching and carrying will move out into the center of their aesthetic. Though Falsch starts and finishes with the opacity of history, realizations such as these indicate a move from identity to relation, from psychology to a more hopeful encounter, from expression toward movement and touch. Against Speed The short film Il court il court le monde (1987) could be seen as the official beginning of the Dardennes’ career as fiction filmmakers.

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