The Kid with a Bike (Le gamin au vélo) (2011)



I don’t think Dardenne brothers have ever committed the sin of trying to impress the audience, to mystify them, or for that matter to wow them. They make films with simple narratives but focus more into deciphering the characters in their movies and the emotions they’re going through. The Kid with a Bike (Le gamin au vélo) is another such attempt by the duo that has made movies in the past on adolescent themes, such as Le fils and L’enfant.

The Kid with a Bike portrays the anguish of a 12 years old, Cyril, who is unable to come to term with the fact that his father has abandoned him. The film begins with Cyril ruthlessly searching for his father only realizing that his father has abandoned him leaving no address or phone number so that he cannot contact him. Unable to come to terms with the truth he continues to look for him.

Meanwhile, he meets compassionate Samantha, who helps him get his bike back, which his father had put up for sale. She organizes Cyril’s meeting with his father, who finds himself stuck with his son and wants to move on, though he’s unable to tell him the same.  Samantha finds motherly love for Cyril, a motherless child whose father wants him away.


                                                   Image Credit: Centre du Cinéma

The story gives some insight in to the character of Cyril as of how easily he befriends ‘The Dealer’, a guy who uses the likes of Cyril to steal and smuggle. Cyril, even though being intelligent enough falls in his trap as he’s looking for another friend, a father like figure. After hurting few people Cyril realizes as to what he has done and feels regret. He reconnects to Samantha and expresses his desire to live with her permanently. The anguished child seems to come to terms with the truth and decides to move on in the end.

The Kid with a Bike is another heartfelt story by Dardenne brothers that has brilliant performance by Thomas Doret, playing Cyril. The film won Grand Prize at Cannes and was named as the best foreign language film by the National Board review in 2012.