The Kid with a Bike

I know it is odd that I started this blog to document my reading and writing progress, yet the very first post is about a film. But as the storyline is quite literary, then this justifies its inclusion here. Anyway, as it is in French and I do not speak the language, I was reading the subtitles. I do not watch many films, so my knowledge is pretty sketchy. Although, lately, I have made an effort to watch some of the Classics. As it was in this case, whenever my interest is piqued, then I just watch whatever is available on the iPlayer.

‘The Kid with a Bike’ is a 2011 French drama film written and directed by the Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, apparently known for making social documentaries. The film is about a boy abandoned by his father and his frantic search to find him. He proves to be resourceful and dogged and along the way gets into several scrapes. However, finally, he settles down to an uncertain future.

I wasn’t expecting much, but the film caught me by a pleasant surprise. It is a straightforward linear film, where the camera follows the boy and his actions. I was surprised to read that fairytales inspired the screenplay. I wonder which aspect exactly as this aspect wasn’t very apparent. As the title suggests, the bicycle is an obvious symbol of the boy’s struggles. Another visual cue seems to be him drinking something or holding a bottle, but I failed to get the point of it.

Film’s visual style, story, and acting, all are realistic and natural rather than idealistic. It benefits from the lack of sentimentality and melodrama. There are no drawn out scenes of a dough-eyed kid struggling with emotions. Nothing howls at you for attention. The acting is good. The pace is good as it is quite an action based film. Having said that, though, the scope of events covered within the given time frame was unrealistic. The story is good, well told. It is just the thing to watch during a relaxing period, in which you won’t expect yourself to be greatly challenged.

As a bonus, the French language with its softer word endings sounds pleasant to the English-hearing ear.