Sony Pictures

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne won their first Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1999 with Rosetta, a film about the struggles of a poverty-stricken young woman in a dreary industrial town in Belgium. That film never played in Chico, nor did L’Enfant, the second Dardenne brothers film to garner the coveted Palme D’Or, a recognition received in 2005. Now that film is available on DVD and it is well worth seeking out. Like Rosetta, L’Enfant tells the story of young people struggling against the impoverishment of the spirit that accompanies poverty in the “dead zones” of European cities. The main character is a young man named Bruno (played by Jeremie Renier) who does a truly terrible thing, and then tries to undo what he has done. Few films reveal more depth of harrowing character development than this one. I used to show Rosetta to some of my college classes. Most of the students didn’t like the grimness, and they didn’t like reading subtitles. I persisted because there are things in the Dardenne brothers’ films that we all need to be thinking about—things that are not foreign at all. The DVD also features an interview with the two directors that is worth watching.