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L'enfant (The Child)

3.9 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

L'Enfant, a groundbreaking drama from award-winning filmmakers Jean Paul and Luc Dardenne, takes us deep into the life of Bruno (Jérémie Renier), a down-and-out petty thief who reaches rock bottom when he sells his newborn son on the black market. In a bid to redeem himself in the eyes of his girlfriend Sonia, the baby's mother (Déborah François), Bruno goes against all odds to bring their baby home. Stunning audiences and winning the coveted Palm d'Or at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, L'Enfant is a gritty, modern day fairy tale critics are calling "a masterpiece" (Time Out New York) that will grab hold of your heart.


A disturbing film about a young Belgian couple and their newborn child, L'Enfant tells a heartbreaking tale that is less about love than about the possibility of moral redemption. We quickly learn what kind of people Sonia and Bruno are. Sonia (Deborah Francois) is a sweet teenager who has just given birth to Bruno's (Jeremie Renier) child. Instead of visiting her and seeing their baby in the hospital, Bruno sublets her apartment to "friends" who slam the door in her face when she tries to return home. We do not know what Sonia does for a living, but we know she's diligent enough to maintain a small apartment and keep her pantry stocked with instant soup. Bruno, on the other hand, refuses to take a job. Instead, he leads a gang of thieves who're approximately half his age (and height). Still, Sonia loves him. And Bruno, who may be incapable of love, enjoys the carefree benefits of having a girlfriend who doesn't expect too much. All this changes when Bruno does the unthinkable--he sells their child. He calmly explains to her, "I thought we'd have another." Overnight, Sonia changes from a little girl to a bitter woman who no longer excuses Bruno's behavior. When he returns to her apartment claiming he loves her, she spits back, "You're lying. You can't help it." Not realizing the irony of his own actions, he then begs her for money. Renier and Francois are formidable actors who convey feelings with subtle nuances. Though the film is in French, the viewer never feels lost. The subtitles certainly help, but the actors are so good that their intonations and expressions speak volumes themselves. L'Enfant--a 2005 Cannes winner by filmmaking brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne--is a brutal film to watch not because of any gore or violence, but because of the frailty of the characters and their desperation to survive. In his quest to return the child to Sonia, Bruno attempts to become a better human being. But the viewer is never left with the satisfaction of knowing that he will ever be able to truly redeem himself. --Jae-Ha Kim

Special Features

  • Interview with the directors

Product Details

  • Actors: Jeremie Renier, Fabrizio Rongione, Olivier Gourmet, Deborah Francois, Jeremie Segard
  • Directors: Luc Dardenne, Jean-Pierre Dardenne
  • Producers: Luc Dardenne, Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Denis Freyd
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 15, 2006
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000G0O5IM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,098 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "L'enfant (The Child)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
At the 2005 Cannes Festival, brothers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne received the Palme d'Or for l'Enfant, their second in six years (the first for Rosetta, in 1999).

The film opens with eighteen-year-old Sonia (Deborah Fran'ois), freshly released from the maternity hospital and carrying her brand-new baby, knocking at the door of her own apartment. She is refused admission. Taking advantage of her brief hospitalization, her boyfriend, Bruno (Jeremie Renier), rented the apartment for the week to some strangers. This incident sets the tone for the rest of the film. Sonia returns to the street where she encounters a friend with a motor scooter who takes her and the infant to meet twenty-one-year-old Bruno, who is the baby's father. Bruno casually looks at his son, "Jimmy," but he doesn't pay too much attention to him, as he is in the process of making one of his "deals." Bruno lives at the fringe of society, surviving off petty theft, trafficking in stolen properties with a gang of young teens who look up to him, and cadging Euros from Sonia's Government-issued family allowance. His latest "deal" having apparently succeeded, he goes and buys a beautiful baby stroller.

Later, while Sonia stands in line at the welfare office, Bruno takes the baby for a stroll in the carriage. While walking, he decides to sell Jimmy to a baby adoption trafficker, and then swiftly carries out his misbegotten plan. When he reconnects with Sonia and shows her the money, she reacts violently, and demands Jimmy's return. Bruno says simply, "We'll make another one." Sonia is overcome by shock, and faints. Bruno carries her to the hospital, and then worried that her raving about "the baby" is going to get him in trouble, embarks on a course to retrieve his son.
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I can almost guarantee you have never seen a film by two Belgian filmmakers, the Dardenne Brothers. Why? Their films receive extremely limited release despite critical praise and a small devoted following.

Each of their previous films, from "La Promesse" to "Rosetta" to 2002's "Le Fils" are a journey; we follow a couple of people over the course of a few days in their lives until the final, emotional, gut-wrenching climax. "L'Enfant" ("The Child"), their newest film and the winner of the 2005 Palme D'Or at Cannes, is no exception.

Sonia (Deborah Francois) leaves the hospital with her newborn son, Jimmy. We first meet her walking through the streets looking for Bruno (Jeremie Renier), her boyfriend and the father of the baby. They find him panhandling at a busy intersection. Sonia learns that Bruno has sublet her apartment for the next few days (she wasn't going to need it in the hospital, right?), so they bed down at the local shelter. That evening, Bruno leaves to meet with his fence and sell her a stolen video camera. Bruno's main source of income is a group of petty thieves, all children, who steal things, sell them to him and he sells them to the fence. Any money he earns is quickly spent; on a new jacket, food if he is hungry, a rental car. While waiting in line for benefits, Sonia tells Bruno he should take the baby for a walk through the park. Bruno realizes everything can be sold for a price. He takes the baby to meet his fence.

The Dardenne Brothers have a unique style. They basically set a camera in the middle of the scene and record the non-professional actors living their character's lives, taking Realism to an extreme. During one scene, we watch Sonia move through her small flat, making a cup of instant soup for her dinner.
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Format: DVD
The writing and directing team of Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne once again have created a film that is harsh, difficult to watch, and tremendously honest and recalcitrant to opt out for happy endings. These two artists manage to address strange issues, play them as realistic as feasible and them allow the audience reaction to complete the tale.

Bruno (Jérémie Renier) and Sonia (Déborah François) are two teenage drifters who have just given birth to a baby nine days ago. They live off Sonia's welfare and Bruno's petty theft crime gang of young kids, namely Steve (Jérémie Segard) who steal for Bruno, Bruno sells the hot items, then pays the boys. Bruno is not a responsible boy, preferring not to get a job, but wanting to buy expensive clothes to look good. His response to Sonia is one of playful adoration (they are obviously very much in love) but he appears to have little attachment to their new son Jimmy. In an act of desperation Bruno sells Jimmy on the Black Market for considerable money. When he tells Sonia she is devastated and throws mim out. Bruno makes contact with the source to whom he sold Jimmy, gains the baby back, only to discover that other thugs are now involved and demand 5000 Euros from him because of their loss in the scam. Bruno convinces Steve to commit some thefts with him on motorbike and they are followed with disastrous effects for Steve. Bruno faces his atrocious behaviors and the manner in which he accepts responsibility and the consequences attached provide a very heartrending ending to this story.

The film is shot with an eye for realistic location and mood.
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