Christine Smallwood, a doctoral candidate in English at Columbia, has written for Bookforum, Harper’s, the London Review of Books, n+1, The Nation, and other publications.
 (May 2012)

The In-Between World

Thomas Doret as Cyril in Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s The Kid With A Bike
The Kid with a Bike, the 2011 film by Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, won the Grand Prix at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and opened in the US in March. Since turning their attention to original movie dramas in the late 1980s, the Dardennes, Belgian brothers who spent the 1970s and 1980s making documentaries, have received international acclaim. They have written, directed, and produced some of the most impressive films to come out of Western Europe in the past fifteen years: The Promise (1996); Rosetta (1999), which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes; The Son (2002); The Child, which also won the Palme d’Or (2005); and Lorna’s Silence (2008). Unlike many French-language filmmakers, whose characters talk about their quandaries or argue the existence of God or other philosophical dilemmas, the Dardennes do not consider conversation a principal mode of ethical inquiry; nor do they seem much interested in sex. Their passion is for the spontaneous or cowardly or unexamined deed, and its consequences.