L’Enfant (2006)

By 2006 the cinema of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne has developed an international following. Again set in Seraing (Liège), L’Enfant (The Child) tells the story of Bruno, a young unemployed vagabond, who sells his child in order to get some money. A character so recognizable but yet so completely detached and estranged from his environment is seldom seen in contemporary cinema. The moral crisis he is confronted with is – as in most of the Dardenne films – a indirect result of (generational) poverty, unemployment, deprivation and an inherited lack of empathy. L’Enfant is a morality tale and a social problem film, without the ‘social’: The larger social, historical and economic context their characters inhabit, stays out of focus.