THE PROMISE (1996) [Feature]

Belgium (MIFF 1996 , Contemporary World Cinema )


Coming to us direct from Cannes where it was one of the few true discoveries of the year. The Promise transcends it's small scale, domestic concerns to evolve into a tough involving, but ultimately compassionate film.

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne a Belgian directorial duo, were inspired by the Brothers Karamazov to film a story of guilt that awakens the moral conscience of a teenaged petty criminal 15-year-old Igor's ruthlessly exploitative father. Roger, runs a labour racket staffed with illegal immigrants when a young African family man is killed on a building site, the subsequent cover-up wrenches Igor between loyalties-the moral initiation of this half-boy, half man. The Dardennes' third feature was 'filmed with a broad brush, rather than a delicate one. trying lo capture moments of reality in order to attain a documentary truth" Their use of a hand-held, documentary style approach Lo the camera work results in tremendous authenticity. The Dardennes have made exceptional use of their cast—many non-professionals-forsaking camera -friendly faces, ever aware of maintaining a grubby realism.

Somehow a quintessential contemporary European film confronting the big Euro-issues {migration and race.The Promise is rigorous, uncompromising and undoubtedly moving (TB)

Select Festival

Search the film archive