Monday, April 03, 2006

Dardenne Documentaries

I spent yesterday in Toronto with my friend Doug Cummings—of Film Journey and Masters Of Cinema—watching films, eating and drinking. (I wonder if there’s a documented link between cinephilia and food.) We saw three early video documentaries by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, each under an hour long. Considering that their last four films—La Promesse (1996), Rosetta (1999), Le Fils (2002) and L’Enfant (2005)—are without exaggeration among the best world cinema produced in the last decade, we were eager to see these rarities. Thanks to Cinematheque Ontario, it was also the first time the films had been screened in subtitled form anywhere in North America.

How pleasantly unsurprising that the three films were all united by an insistent focus on human labor. When The Boat Of Léon M. Went Down The Meuse River For The First Time (1979) looks back to a general strike in the Dardennes' hometown of Seraing in Belgium in 1960. Léon is a worker who remembers how the strike came about—as a decision by the people against the wishes of the union—and shut down all the factories and local businesses in a spontaneously organized collective action. The film cross-cuts throughout between newsreel footage of the strike and the boat ploughing through the Meuse River—you can’t help but flash back to the scene of near-drowning in the same river in the Dardennes' latest, L’Enfant—the boat’s prow cutting through the calm waters and leaving turbulence in its wake. The parallels between the cross-cuts are hard to miss. Favorite parts: staccato montages of Léon working, making his boat—hammering nails, assembling panels—using his hands.

“On the screen of the cinematographic cave, films are projected endlessly,” says the voiceover in For The War To End, The Walls Should Have Crumbled (1980). There’s an unfamiliar self-reflexivity to this film, which begins, very self-consciously, three times. It’s about an underground newspaper, The Worker’s Voice, run by factory workers to provide a “truer” picture of their work because, as they say indisputably, “the eye of the mass-media camera opens too late.” Two delightful passages, one Dardennian, the other shockingly not: (1) Listing all the functions that a table serves: eating, reading the “Autodidactic Encyclopedia,” writing, playing chess, laying out documents, planning the strategy for a strike; (2) A startlingly humorous and playful montage of the worker’s battlefield, the factory, with blast furnace, fire and smoke, scored to industrial noises and videogame rat-a-tat-tat. At film’s end, the worker leaves home and gets into his car: “To the factory, to the war—the battle begins again.”

“The new revolution will be made on modulated frequencies,” begins R . . . No Longer Answers (1982), a freely impressionistic portrait of a radio service. (The "R" tellingly stands for "Reality.") It was the most overtly formal of the three documentaries, and I would not have been able to ID it as a Dardenne film if I didn’t know. Unconstrained by linearity, it moves between various parties—DJ’s, radio engineers, producers, listeners—mixing both interview and staged footage. There’s a dense political-montage element to the film that reminded me of Godard (Two Or Three Things I Know About Her or even the Dziga Vertov period). The film ends beautifully, in a silent radio recording booth. The screen turns from a photographic image into a minimal line drawing, outlining the equipment and furniture but without any people. A fittingly abstract coda to this abstractly-structured film. Color me surprised.

Illustration courtesy of magixl.com.

45 Comments:

Blogger girish said...

Chuck on historic film criticism.

April 03, 2006 2:10 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

What a wonderful experience and review!! I adore the Dardennes and am so glad you two got to see these and came back to spread the word! Thanks, Girish!

As for "cinephilia and food", I'm having a web developer come over this week to begin negotiations on how to ramp up The Evening Class and on my list of dreamthings is exactly the food blog we've been discussing lately. It's an aspect of film culture that has--among the mainstream, perhaps--been reduced to popcorn and a candy bar with a big Coke to wash it down. But, as among the participants at the Sonoma Valley Film Festival, dining and viewing are wed for pleasure.

April 03, 2006 2:12 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Since they're so hard to come by, I'm thinking of making another road trip to Toronto to catch some films by Luc Moullet.
Jonathan Rosenbaum's recent article on Moullet.

April 03, 2006 2:12 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Michael--You're such an ambitious and prolific blog-man!

April 03, 2006 2:14 PM  
Anonymous Filmbrain said...

They sound very interesting, especially that last one.

Are the docs shot in a style similar to their narrative works, or did they re-invent themselves when they made the switch to film?

April 03, 2006 3:51 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Filmbrain, it looks like they consciously reinvented themselves with La Promesse. (They've all but disowned their first two fiction features, made just before that.)

The docs are shot not in a hand-held verite style but often with a static camera, unlike the films from La Promesse on. And the docs foreground their formal play, unlike the fiction features. The last of the three was very Godardian. Not what I expected at all, and thus a nice surprise.

April 03, 2006 4:02 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Folks--There's a nice couple of articles on the Dardennes in the new issue of Cineaste. Neither is alas on-line, but there is this Tony Pipolo essay on Bresson that's available, and not un-pertinent, since the Dardennes have so much common ground with him.

April 03, 2006 5:37 PM  
Blogger girish said...

In an email I got from him today, James Quandt puts his finger on something I've been struggling to articulate about these Dardenne docs but didn't know how: " [their] militancy was subsumed into something more nuanced and classically humanist but still political in the later fiction features."
The docs wear their formal features on their sleeve but not so with their fiction work. Their work has gone from being overtly formalistic to much more classical. Not that the fiction films are formally unadventurous or unexciting (the opposite!) but the formal aspect of the docs is now blended (or "subsumed" as James says about the political militancy) a little more "invisibly" into the films.

April 03, 2006 5:57 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Are you sure this is what he meant, Girish? It sounds like you asked about their political agenda, not their formalism. I could see the former being subsumed but not the latter. I like the explanation we came up with better--that the documentaries are more self-consciously "showy" simply out of youthful vigor; it was so funny to see them introduce the first film resembling long-haired, 30-something punks. ;)

This is why I compare their transition from political non-fiction to inner-person fiction with Kieslowski's career, even though there's still a major gap between the Dardennes and Kieslowski's aesthetics, of course. They all denied being "political" filmmakers, even though the idea of social equality and justice is intrinsic to the Dardennes' work and Kieslowski's early fictional (pre-Decalogue)features. Not to say anything about A Short Film About Killing.

Robin Wood has a so-so overview of the Dardennes in the latest Artforum, but he makes some rather pedestrian simplifications of Bresson, a filmmaker he has little patience with.

And yes, their "self-reinvention" occured just prior to La Promesse--Luc writes about it in his recently published diary much like Bresson spoke about Les Dames..., as a bad experience that would swear them off filmmaking unless they made some changes. They retitled their production company for La Promesse and all of their subsequent films.

April 03, 2006 6:45 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Ah, good point, Doug.
Yes, James was referring to their political aspects and not their formalism, as I indicated in the quote I reproduced.
It was I who made the analogy with the formalism. The fiction work, because it doesn't have the self-reflexivity of the docs, seemed a bit less overtly formalistic to me....
Which has me wondering in general: what makes a film more or less formalistic? (I remember in the intro Giannetti text a continuum that spanned documentary to formalistic.)

April 03, 2006 7:31 PM  
Blogger aaron w graham said...

Considering this seems to be the place where a lot of film-oriented bloggers convene, I thought i'd pass along Tim Lucas's call for a rush Roger Corman blogathon this Wednesday (likening it to how many days Mr. Corman had to make LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS):

http://www.videowatchdog.blogspot.com/

April 03, 2006 7:44 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks for that, Aaron.

April 03, 2006 8:37 PM  
Blogger Tuwa said...

Oddly enough, I just saw Death Race 2000 for the first time yesterday. An interesting film, though probably not one I can wrap my thoughts around shortly in a compelling post.

April 03, 2006 9:54 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Oh yeah, the Paul Bartel film. I've never seen it, but I've always wanted to. 15 years ago, I used to be a fan of Scenes From The Class Struggle In Beverly Hills, though I have no idea how I'd react to it today.

April 03, 2006 10:00 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Darren's looking for advice on buying a videocamera.

April 03, 2006 10:31 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Ron Silliman's take on Sally Potter's YES. (He runs what is probably the most high-profile avant-garde poetryblog on the Internet.)

April 03, 2006 10:35 PM  
Blogger That Little Round-Headed Boy said...

Girish, I hope you don't mind me going off-topic for a moment, but you host such a great, open forum that I had to ask fellow bloggers what just popped into my mind: Why do we so rarely write anything about comedies? We'll examine every nook and cranny of the most out-there art house film, which is absolutely great, but I rarely see (in the brief time I've been doing this) any appreciations on the same level for comedies. Do we all lack a sense of humor? Is it easier to write about the mechanics of drama or the anything-goes approach of an experimental film than the light, nearly magical touch of a great comedy? I'm open to any interpretive theories, conspiratorial or otherwise.

April 03, 2006 11:23 PM  
Blogger phyrephox said...

If you get over to the Moullet series, I recommend heartily THE SMUGGLERS, one of the best, and most bizarre, landscape (and on the run) films ever made.

April 03, 2006 11:24 PM  
Anonymous Peter Nellhaus said...

Roger Corman? Wednesday? OK. Good thing I have a couple of the Poe films in my collection. Corman was the first director I ever interviewed as a student film critic at NYU.

April 04, 2006 12:05 AM  
Blogger aaron w graham said...

Peter,

That's amazing re: your interview with Corman. Do you recall any particular questions that you asked him?

Looking forward to your contribution on the Poe series.

April 04, 2006 1:24 AM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

Every time I hear about the Dogme 95 filmmakers and their 'Vow of Chastity," I think of the Dardannes, who follow practically every provison in that vow, but without the fuss.

La Promesse I thought a great film--greater by far than anything Doggy-style, anyway; Rosetta I like a little less, but it's still a considerable accomplishment.

Excellent discription of the docs, girish; makes me badly want to see them. I don't know if you'll ever have the chance to see this in turn, but there's a documentary made by a pair of Filipinas that you might find interesting, about child labor:

Children Only Once (Scroll down to last part of article for my thoughts on the film)

Too much voiceover narration, I felt, and strictly traditional filmmaking, except for the touch of fairy-tale imagery I could see in parts of the picture.

As for Death Race 2000--can't believe you haven't seen this! It's brash, crude, witty fun, with bits of nudity, bits of heads chopped off, and a frankly brilliant satire about how a government can distract its people with bread-and-circus slaughter. Misses as much as it hits, but what it hits is rarely left standing, and how can you hate a pic that describes Sly Stallone as a guy "loved by thousands, hated by millions"?

Roger Corman--I actually wrote a brief (really brief) writeup about him some days ago:

Roger Corman.

I don't know if Wednesday is time enough, tho, for a man of so many flicks.

April 04, 2006 2:01 AM  
Blogger girish said...

TLRHB--That's a good point you make. Perhaps others would like to respond it....
Just my two cents: If you look at the "pantheon" of cinema, comedy filmmakers (in American cinema--Keaton, Chaplin, Lubitsch, Sturges, etc) are far outnumbered by the non-comedic. However, there are many filmmakers both past and present whose work has strong elements of humor, rather than being outright in the "comedy genre". (e.g. again with American cinema: Hitch, Hawks, Ford, etc all made films with lots of humor in them.) And they get written about quite a bit.

Phyrephox--Thanks for the Moullet recommendation. I was pretty much going to throw a dart and hit a Moullet until your suggestion. Much appreciated.

Peter & Aaron--I'll look forward to reading your Corman posts.

Noel--Thanks for those links. Death Race 2000 sounds like a hoot. By the way, just the other day I read your piece in Cineaste as part of the international critics symposium and really enjoyed it. It's unfortunately not on-line or I'd link to it here.

April 04, 2006 7:59 AM  
Blogger girish said...

I've never heard of this writer but Steven Shaviro has an interesting post on Samuel R. Delany.

April 04, 2006 8:03 AM  
Blogger girish said...

At MZS"s place: a guest post on 5 best animated movies.

April 04, 2006 8:05 AM  
Blogger andyhorbal said...

Cinephilia and food (-philia?):

Both celebrate things that the majority of the world takes for granted. Both are not content to merely state, I like this, or This is my favorite food. Instead both explore why. Premises are shared: deconstruct a great meal and you will find fine, fresh ingredients. Deconstruct a great movie and you will find thoughtful, intelligent, well-executed scenes. But not always--there are chefs who work with pop rocks...

April 04, 2006 10:10 AM  
Blogger andyhorbal said...

Comedy, in response to that little round-headed boy:

Pauline Kael regarded the SNL comics moving into film (Bill Murray amongst them) as one of the most promising trends in American cinema in the 80s. Arguably that bunch produced a masterpiece in Groundhog Day. Roger Ebert's Great Movies entry for the film cites the Independent as saying it is, "hailed by religious leaders as the most spiritual film of all time."

Rather off topic, yes? I just watched this last night for about the 40th time...

I didn't even answer the question...

April 04, 2006 10:17 AM  
Blogger Matt Zoller Seitz said...

Andyhorbal: GROUNDHOG DAY is a spiritual movie for a secular age. it actually made it onto my best of the 90s list in NYPress, and the more often I watch it, the more sure I am that I was right to include it. Few Hollywood movies are this light yet this deep.

girish: You really worked up my appetite to see these docs, and I'm glad to know about the Corman impromptu blog-a-thon. I'll try to put my daily newspaper chops to work and bang something out. Dunno what yet.

Also, I know this is the wrong thread to do it in, but thanks for the Monk post. He's among my favorite jazz composers and pianists, and a huge influence on my dad, the composer-pianist Dave Zoller.

April 04, 2006 11:02 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Back to your question, Girish: "Which has me wondering in general: what makes a film more or less formalistic?"

I'm thinking now that "formalistic" is a bad adjective for describing how exaggerated the stylization is for any given film. I mean, every film has formal properties, and every film is therefore "formalistic."

I agree with Noel's comment about the Dogme style; the Dardenne aesthetic is similar (although they began writing about their ideas in 1992) but it also highlights the limitations of style-as-content, because the Dardenne films are so much richer and complex and, well, meaningful (a subjective statement, I know!) than anything I've seen from Dogme.

Another test comparison was Jean-Pierre Denis' La Petite Chartreuse (2005), which not only stars Olivier Gourmet but is shot with a handheld camera by the Dardenne's camera operator--and it's a disaster of a film; maudlin, misdirected, a dramatic mess. Like Bresson, the Dardennes do many takes for each scene, and those of us at SFIFF last year decided Denis' film was proof positive that the Dardenne's seemingly off-the-cuff, naturalistic style was anything but.

So I guess there are formalist directors, who emphasize style and structure, but I wouldn't say the late Dardenne films are any more or less formalist. Their late films are less stylistically flashy and more stripped down, but they're also more elliptical, more silent (no narration), more intense.

April 04, 2006 11:44 AM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

MZS's list is interesting--appreciate his including Miyazaki and the Beatles, and I do recognize that Disney's Sleeping Beauty is gorgeous to look at, if dramatically and emotionally inert. But Beauty and the Beast? I don't know. Beauty's said to be intelligent, doesn't do or say anything particularly smart (Gaston's funnier by far); Mario O'Hara's 'Johnny Tinoso and the Proud Beauty' featured a really bitchy Beauty and a truly soulful Beast, and furthermore had an additional twist that brings the legend home in a new way. And much as good as Pixar is, which is okay, none of it has the emotional complexity of anything by Miyazaki or Takahata.

Thanks re: the Cineaste article; tossed it off one night, actually. Thought Olaf Moller's entry had more cojones.

April 04, 2006 4:50 PM  
Anonymous Peter Nellhaus said...

I just wrote my Corman piece which will be more personal. As far as comedy, I have no answer except to say that very few withstand repeated viewings, perhaps as hearing a joke repeated stops being funny. I know there a only a few comedies in my collection. My S.O. saw The Girl can't Help It for the first time last week and was amazed by Jayne Mansfield's comic acting and costumes.

April 04, 2006 5:13 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks, everyone.

Andy and Matt--Nothing is off-topic here, and no thread the wrong thread. Digression is welcome and valued!

Matt, I hope you do a little tribute post to your family and their jazz heritage sometime because everything you've mentioned to me about them sounds fascinating.

Doug said: "I'm thinking now that "formalistic" is a bad adjective for describing how exaggerated the stylization is for any given film. I mean, every film has formal properties, and every film is therefore "formalistic.""

I agree completely, Doug, that it is an unsatisfying word. But it's bandied about quite a bit, not least in intro film texts and so I'm sorta curious to "interrogate" it a bit. I suspect (I'm not sure about this) that the use of the word might have less to do with whether formal properties are deployed (all films, as you say, are "formalistic") than the degree to which those formal properties call attention to themselves and are made visible. The words "stylized" and "formalistic" are, as far as I can tell, used nearly interchangeably. If there are minor distinctions in meaning between them, I'm not aware of them. And yet we seem to perhaps prefer the former sometimes because it doesn't include the word "form" or "formal" (loaded words).

Which also has me wondering: what is the difference between "form" and "style"? Is the latter a subset of the former? The manner in which one deploys the former?

Just asking out loud. It's kind of interesting that one (meaning, me) has trouble precisely defining terms that one has been encountering and using for years...

Nice points you make, Doug. I enjoyed reading and thinking about them.

April 04, 2006 6:10 PM  
Anonymous Marina said...

"what is the difference between "form" and "style"? Is the latter a subset of the former? The manner in which one deploys the former? "

That is how I tend to think about it. The "form" is universal by nature, it can be deployed in innumerable ways. One example, still fresh in my mind, is Venice. Everyone has a certain image of it, though not realistically fulfilled by all. It is a certain metaphor...it is numerous metaphors just as there numerous people. In Visconti's 'Death in Venice', however, it is intimidating, menacing even. It is sickness and thus the loss of love. In the recent 'Casanova' Venice is lust, a joker of emotions. In Fellini's 'Casanova' - a parody.
That is what 'style' makes out of a 'form'. While the 'form' is susceptible to interpretations, which may turn out to be contrary by nature (as people are), the 'style' with which a 'form' is shaped leaves just one spectrum of interpretations - the one close to the 'stylist'.

April 05, 2006 4:32 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks, Marina, for commenting and for your thoughts.

April 05, 2006 7:09 AM  
Blogger girish said...

A few Roger Corman posts I've found this morning:

--Aaron Graham.
--Flickhead.
--Peter.

April 05, 2006 7:17 AM  
Blogger HarryTuttle said...

Don't mind my chiming in cause I bear no relevance to the english dictionary ;)
So many words misused/misinterpretated in film criticism... It's interesting to discuss these terms regarding Dardennes cinema though. Girish and Doug's description of the documentaries are really fascinating.

Here's my understanding (open for debate), I can see a notable difference:

stylized : has more to do with the overt distanciation to realism (exaggerated/underplayed acting, bigger/lesser-than-life, ellipsis, simplification)
stylish : that would be excess of stylistic signature in filmmaking (trademarked gimmicks, recurrant framing, particular design)
formalistic : focus on form (technique, rules, visual language) rather than content, form leads content, or even replace content. Can be positive. Editing, composition, camerawork stand out instead of being invisible.
mannerist : also means excess of style and form, but in a pejorative manner. Self-conscious, overcharged, detailed, improbable, overwhelming, rich, virtuoso.

For instance a film movement (like Soviet Montage, or Cinéma-vérité) determines certain aspects of the general film form to create an original identifiable style.

April 05, 2006 7:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Formalism" is a term of attack. It hauls the artist before some kind of tribunal, which accuses a certain frivolity with regards to the "larger issues" whatever they might be.

But the idea, regardless of what you call it, is inseparable from modernism. And what it means is the form in its particular material expression IS the content, which is itself. So reflexivity is built into the rigorous modernist work.

April 05, 2006 12:34 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thank you, Harry & Anon.

Yes, "formalism" does have a pejorative whiff to it, doesn't it? (Though it can also be used positively, I guess).
Harry, you say about "mannerist": "Self-conscious, overcharged, detailed, improbable, overwhelming, rich, virtuoso."
And it's interesting that all of these could be employed as part of a "stylized" approach and be perfectly congruent with it and work well. But using the word "mannerist" to describe them is pejorative.

It's also interesting to me that both the Dardennes and Jean-Pierre Denis (the example that Doug cited) employ potentially interesting formal choices but one succeeds while the other fails badly. (I haven't seen the film, but Doug has.) I guess this is where the artist's "creative intuition" (and the multitude of decisions they make in the process of employing the above formal choices) leads to success or failure. So, merely deploying the formal means of cinema in what looks like "bold" and "unconventional" ways does not necessarily result in artistic success. But then, what precisely does? Hmm...

April 05, 2006 5:22 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Jonathan Rosenbaum's 10 Favorite Offbeat Musicals, at DVD Beaver.

April 06, 2006 6:44 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Brian Darr at Cinemarati on the recent controversy about I Am A Sex Addict.

April 06, 2006 6:48 AM  
Blogger Matt Zoller Seitz said...

You're right that "form" and "style" are often treated as synonyms. I also think your initial impulse is correct, that form comes first, then style. Form is the material, style is what you do with it. Or to go with a food metaphor, form is the recipe, but style is evidence of the cook's personalizing the recipe, perhaps even augmenting or subverting it.

To offer a purely personal and in no way official definition, I always think "form" means the actual form taken by the work (i.e., the genre, the structure, the specific techniques used). But I think of "style" as being what the artist brings to the table -- evidence of his or her temperament, personality, preoccupations, etc.

To give just one example, I'd say MUNICH takes the form of an internatiional spy thriller, and Spielberg filters that form through his style, which includes, among other things, a highly personalized take on 70s visual tics (handheld camera, snap-zooms, lots of grain in the image), his usual filtering of narrative and politics through the ideas of "home" and "family," and a dilalectical approach to the subject of vengeance, which defines it as both defensive and offensive, rational and irrational, national and personal.

To bring in a second film, John Frankenheimer's BLACK SUNDAY is very, very similar to MUNICH in its story, themes and even some settings and characterizations. Spielberg honors that movie in his choice of camerawork, editing, lighting, even film stock (homages galore, more than I can count, and I live for that sort of thing). Still, I think if you put the two movies side by side, they illustrate the difference between form and style pretty well. Very similar form, even similar techniques, but there's no mistaking one style for the other.

Dunno if that explanation holds up to scrutiny, but that's my take on it.

April 06, 2006 4:32 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Nice point and examples, Matt.

To apply your idea to the Dardennes, for example, one formal choice they make in their fiction films is the use of hand-held camera. An example of their style might be perhaps the manner in which they deploy the hand-held camera, for example, staying close to a character, often not shooting them frontally but from the back and particularly filming their shoulders and neck. (I mean, I practically memorized the back of Olivier Gourmet's neck in Le Fils.)

April 06, 2006 4:52 PM  
Blogger Matt Zoller Seitz said...

Great example. I think when Lodge Kerrigan does the same thing with his handheld camera in KEANE, he's not just invoking the Dardennes' form, but their style as well.

April 06, 2006 5:00 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Ah, yes.
And a counter-example might be Hitch with his two versions of The Man Who Knew Too Much.
The 1955 version is different from the 1934 in terms of formal choices (it's in color, widescreen, much longer and more expansive, with extended bravura sequences with no dialogue like the Albert Hall scene) and yet one might say that there are strong commonalities in terms of Hitch's personal style in the two films.

April 06, 2006 5:31 PM  
Blogger HarryTuttle said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

April 07, 2006 1:08 AM  
Anonymous Adam N said...

The Dardennes seem to have been left behind a bit in this thread, but as I'm off to Cinematheque Ontario tonight to see their first feature film, "Falsch," I thought I'd weight in on their second film, "Je Pense a Vous," which screened a couple of days ago.
Basically, it's a very ham-fisted melodrama about the wife of a laid-off steel worker, and how she copes with her husband's inability to cope. The tinkling piano music threw me for a loop -- the Dardennes have mocked the idea of music in their films, just as they've dismissed the idea of showing the death of a character (which happens in Je Pense a Vous). It's as if they went into hiding after this film and emerged as masters with La Promesse -- an observation that's already been made on this blog, but is no less startling for being re-stated.
As with the documentaries (which I found intelligent but uninvoling), it's possible to tease out some similarities with their feature work -- a focus on working-class protagonists, obviously, but also some physical long takes and a willingness to let faces do the talking. And it's set in Seraing, of course. When my friend and I interviewed the Dardennes last fall at the Toronto festival (for a piece that'll be out in Toronto this month), they seemed, if not hesitant to discuss their early work, then at least uninterested. There is one doc that they produced that seems very important, however -- it's called "Gigi and Monica." A professor I know swears that it was the inspiration for L'Enfant: it's about a young couple with a child who punch each other on the arm and play-fight like little puppies. The Dardennes told us that they produced it, and nothing else -- anyone out there seen it?

April 18, 2006 2:30 PM  

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