The Kid With a Bike

"Le gamin au vélo," an unrated drama from Belgium (English subtitles), is about an eleven-year old boy, abandoned by his father at a local youth farm (orphanage). Nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globes, it is also winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes (2011), Best Screen- writer at the European Film Awards and Best Director at the Flaiano Inter- national Prizes. I noticed in particular how few cuts there were in each scene. Amazing!

We watch our determined young protagonist break away from his keepers and set out in quest of his absent father AND his missing bicycle. His journey crosses the path of a town hairdresser who for some never-disclosed reason, agrees to foster him on weekends; an act of kindness she quickly comes to regret. This boy is hurt, defiant, and rebellious. He is convinced his father would never leave him, nor would he take away his bike, so the only way for our little guy to learn this sad lesson is in a face-to-face confrontation.

This cast is excellent, these two leads in particular:
  • Thomas Doret (impressive in his first role) is Cyril, frightened and bewildered by his father's selfish actions. This kid is always run- ning, pedaling, climbing or fighting. At times he is so stubborn I want to shake him!
  • Cécile De France ("Avenue Montaigne") is Samantha, the ultra-patient hairdresser, willing to stand by our little rascal, even when he isn't very lovable. She is barely strong enough to cope with our wiry rebel.
As the story unfolds, we in the Seattle International Film Festival audience never move. We see things about other characters that our young hero is too immature to understand, so we hold our collective breath. We see that the good people are really good, while the bad people are equally bad, and we keep our fingers crossed for this confused youngster as he works his way through his pain.

As the film ends I feel good about Man's humanity to Man.
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