Who are the Dardenne brothers?
The brothers' upbringing in the industrial Belgian suburbs is a scenario that is constantly re-echoed in their films. Their work with documentary, too, hugely influenced the brothers' directorial style: after an impressive sixty documentaries the pair moved on to drama, extrapolating their experimental documentary techniques to their new features.
Unstinting documentary naturalism
Marion Cotillard's appearance in their most recent feature was an anomaly for the brothers, as most of their films usually feature practically unknown Belgian locals. Over the course of their last seven, highly regarded features, the Dardennes have created a distinctive naturalist style that deals with normal people and their issues with unstinting documentary realism, crisp cinematography and an almost unparalleled lightness of touch.
'The part of society that 'no one wants to show''
The brothers choose to depict the part of society that 'no one wants to show', as they address such difficult topics as unemployment, alcoholism, young workers and clandestine immigration. Their characters are represented in a humanistic way, without glory or failure. They are not victims of society, they are not superheroes; but multi-layered, complex human beings who struggle to live their everyday lives as best they can.
On the agenda
Two of their previous and most influential films, also praised for their social realist style, both won first prize at the Palme D'Or. The Promise (2005), a harrowing rites-of-passage story partly inspired by Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, and Rosetta (1999) which stars Émilie Dequenne in the lead role and depicts the day-to-day struggles of a tough Belgian teenager in a dreary, wintry town, will be screened on the 24th & 25th April respectively and are essential watching for anyone wishing to gain an insight into the Dardennes' creative development.
Deux Jours, Une Nuit
The last film to be screened, Deux Jours, Une Nuit (3rd May) stars Marion Cotillard as Sandra, a factory worker threatened with redundancy when her colleagues choose to retain their €1,000 bonuses rather than her job. She has a single weekend to convince them otherwise. The film is largely comprised of a series of mutually humiliating confrontations between Sandra and her fellow employees, each of which showcases Cotillard’s emotional subtlety and the fears and desires of working class Walloons.
This is a rare opportunity to relive the films of two of Belgium’s most significant filmmakers in the vibrant surrounds of The Mall's contemporary arts hub, the ICA.
Booking for the Dardenne Brother’s Retrospective is currently open, and tickets are £12.00 (full price), £8.00 (members) and ), £9.00 (concessions).
|What||The Dardenne Brothers Retrospective, ICA|
Institute of Contemporary Arts
The Mall, London, SW1Y 5AH | MAP
|Nearest tube||Charing Cross (underground)|
24 Apr 15 – 03 May 15, 8:40 PM – 12:00 AM
|Price||£12 (£8 members and £9 concessions)|
|Website||Click here to go to the ICA website.|