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Miss It and You’re Worthless

Miss It and You're Worthless

Film lovers and human beings—and those lucky enough to bridge the gap between those two sometimes disparate groups (sorry, Cinemaniacs!)—should be rejoicing this weekend. The Dardenne Brothers’ 2005 Palme d’or winner L’Enfant is coming to theaters this weekend. How good is it? Let me put it this way: I was walking down the street during lunch break yesterday on this particularly sun-dappled afternoon, and suddenly my mind spontaneously jumped to L’Enfant, which I first had seen last fall at the New York Film Festival. The quick recall of the film made me overwrought with emotion, and just the recollection of its encompassing power made me momentarily lose my senses, pass in front of a red streetlight, and almost walk into an oncoming speeding car. Appropriate enough for a film so breathless with incident, so ragged with near-collisions, so fraught with near-catastrophes and ultimate saving graces. It’s unfathomable how Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have managed to make so momentous so many small narrative incidents in so many amazing films successively, and how they have managed to so rigorously imbue so much passionate, relatable experience to what are essentially dark capitalist critiques. There’s never a moment in L’Enfant when you feel like you can catch your breath; every action teeters on the precipice of emotional collapse and societal devastation. Sound like a disaster film? In a way, yet as always, the Dardennes keep their camera insistently on one main protagonist. Never have I felt so close to someone so utterly alien to my own perceived moral compass. You can read more in-depth Reverse Shotting about L’Enfant here and here, so for now, for the sake of soulful hyperbole, I’ll say that L’Enfant is insanely great, and along with the upcoming Three Times and The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, a force to be reckoned with come time for best of 2006 listmaking. Run, run, run until you’re wheezing with desperation, to the movie theater.

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