From New Yorker scribe Richard Brody, no stranger to silly proclamations (see also: “If there’s a French filmmaker whose work [Joe] Swanberg’s resembles, it’s Philippe Garrel, who has also made an extraordinary career filming his own stories, starring himself, his family, and his friends.”):
This Friday marks the opening of another terrific movie, Lorna’s Silence, by the brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. I’ve long admired their work, and this film is as good as anything they’ve made, but there’s one regard in which Apatow has them beat. The Dardenne brothers capture a significant swath of humanity in their films, but nobody who resembles the Dardenne brothers, whereas Apatow puts himself into his movies.
Huh. So, by that token, the Dardennes should drop the shtick about the poor downtrodden souls left behind in the race for European economic union in favor of making films about a pair of Marxist brother filmmakers, and, until then, Judd Apatow has them beat because he makes solipsistic odes to Hollywood and the fat losers who live there?
Brody does manage to halfway climb out of that doozy of a hole with a ringing (parenthetical) endorsement of the Dardennes’ brand of cinema:
(Of course, it’s arguable that, by putting himself into his movies, he keeps out of them precisely those kinds of characters who are the Dardenne brothers’ main subjects: the marginalized, the isolated, or, simply, the poor—the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” who are the despised of the world, the often unwelcome immigrants of today—and “Lorna’s Silence” is precisely about such immigrants.)
Yeah, I think if Knocked Up and L’enfant (basically the same movie, really) had faced off in Cannes, the tables would have been turned on those presumptuous Belgians. The world doesn’t need more filmmakers interested in class relations and possessing of phenomenally economical storytelling abilities. What it needs is a parade of charmless, paunchy bourgeoisie man-boys poorly framed by a visually retarded director insistent on piling on the gags until his movies compete with Our Hitler: A Film from Germany for “Feels The Longest” honors.