Directors: Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne
What’s the betting that, in 20 years time, Belgium’s Dardenne brothers will still be producing poetic, small-scale dramas about the daily dilemmas of life’s have-nots? And what’s the betting they’ll still be receiving invites to Cannes, where their previous five films have premiered? But the Dardennes' Cannes dream really kicked off in 1999, when their disarmingly curt tale of a surly, poverty-stricken young girl (Emilie Dequenne) and her attempts to keep herself and her mother alive while retaining a sense of self-worth was given the top prize, beating strong competition from the likes of Pedro Almodóvar (‘All About My Mother’), Bruno Dumont (‘L’Humanite’) and Raúl Ruiz (‘Time Regained’). Comparisons to Robert Bresson’s ‘Mouchette’ feel entirely appropriate, especially its view of life as a prolonged nightmare of suffering that makes those small, occasional moments of respite even sweeter.