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L'enfant- Palme d'Or 2005 From Jean Pierre and Luc Dardenne


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This is really growing to be one of my most loved films from the 2006 release year. I really hope to see more from this when the international Oscar conciderations are going around this spring. Here in the States it's been slightly billed as a film about baby brokers.. I felt that was only a brief side trip in the film. It was the one mistake that took Bruno down the chain of events that would lead to his change, punishment, or what ever you want to call it. There was something I got out of this viewing that I was really intrigued by, and that was the fact that Bruno certainly lived two very seperate but distinct lives.

 

One as the new and unprepared father of a new born baby. A baby he certainly didn't want and outwardly treated as if it was some great burden. As the mother was worried about survival and care for their small and barely functioning family. Bruno was wanting to buy clothes and rent nice cars and enjoy life one day at a time. It isn't something I judge him for by any means. He was still a boy inside himself and wasn't prepared for the task of having to think about a life that would depend on him for everthing from food to medical care to protection. In the face of this new life, he goes behind his girlfriends back and sells the baby to a baby broker. The girlfriend goes ape **** when she finds out and this is where the events of the film begin to take shape.

 

The second life he is leading is one of a gang leader. A gang that exists of himself and two small boys who steal and scam for him. All three knowing that the younger boys cannot be arrested and put in jail under law and they would take the fall if they ever got in to trouble. Bruno's care and maturity for the two boys he does business with is much more careing and loving and devoted then that shown toward his girlfriend and their baby. I would say out of nesessity. His relationship was admirable, gentle and one of respect. Still, the relationship between them wouldn't be nesessary if adults and children living in poverty weren't ignored by the elected governments that are there to give them relief and improvement. The best side of Bruno existed in his life with the two boys and not where it should have been. With his son and girlfriend. Something that sitrs a lot of debate here in the US but somthing that is very average and typical in the much poorer countires around the world.

 

The film speaks volumes about the desparity of people who have nothing in life to really on. Nothing more then the few people, regardless of their age, that they allow themselves to love and depend on. It's a beautiful film. As to be expected Dardenne brothers. Much deserving of the Palme d'Or at Cannes, this film presents many unique and accurate views about the society we all live in and the need for reform when it comes to poverty stricken people and the laws that govern them.

 

In the end, Bruno was a young man who lived by standards he felt were right. The boys who worked for him and the wife and baby are all witnesses to a great change of character in Bruno, and that any poor decision he had made with them was small in proportion to what he was willing to sacrifice for them. A very touching and powerful statement about modern society.

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