The Cinema of the Dardenne Brothers: Responsible Realism by Philip Mosley

By Philip Mosley

The brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have verified a global acceptance for his or her emotionally strong realist cinema. encouraged through their domestic turf of Liège-Seraing, a former business hub of French-speaking southern Belgium, they've got crafted a sequence of fiction motion pictures that blends acute remark of lifestyles at the social margins with ethical fables for the postmodern age. This quantity analyses the brothers' profession from their leftist video documentaries of the Seventies and Eighties via their debut as administrators of fiction movies within the overdue Nineteen Eighties and early Nineteen Nineties to their six significant achievements from The Promise (1996) to the child with a motorbike (2011), an oeuvre that incorporates Golden hands on the Cannes movie competition, for Rosetta (1999) and the kid (2005). It argues that the moral size of the Dardennes' paintings enhances instead of precludes their sustained expression of a basic political sensibility.

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In any case, the protagonists of Bresson’s later films – such as the eponymous Mouchette (1968) and Lancelot in Lancelot du lac (Lancelot of the Lake, 1972), or Yvon in L’Argent (Money, 1983) – find no redemption, and his vision grows bleaker in a way that is alien to the Dardennes for whom there is always a measure of guarded optimism, of possibility, of escape from an untenable situation. Any redemption in the Dardennes’ uncompromising world has to come from their protagonists’ own consciousness and choice of action; for them, spiritual intercession is not an option.

However, much of In the Beginning Was the Resistance has not survived, while even The Nightingale’s Song, which was shot in black and white on halfinch tape, contains sections damaged beyond repair despite a DVD transfer that has fortunately preserved most of the film.

See, for example, Jacques Derrida (1978). Yet Eagleton criticises Derrida’s own ethics for much the same reasons as Derrida does those of Levinas. Nor does Eagleton spare the political left, believing it has failed to recognise the Aristotelian-Hegelian tradition in which the ethical always means the politico-ethical. Robert Legros (2008) offers a Kantian reading of the Dardennes’ films. For another take on the mundane and undramatic in film, see Andrew Klevan (2000), who takes his lead from Stanley Cavell’s philosophical scepticism.

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