Screened as part of NZIFF 2011

The Kid with a Bike 2011

Le Gamin au vélo

Directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne

In this gripping Cannes Grand Prix winner from Belgium’s Dardenne brothers, a wild 11-year-old boy rebounds between the judicious care of a kind, single woman (Cécile de France) and the blandishments of a streetwise older boy.

France / Italy In French with English subtitles
87 minutes

Directors, Screenplay


Jean-Pierre Dardenne
Luc Dardenne
Denis Freyd


Alain Marcoen


Marie-Hélène Dozo

Production designer

Igor Gabriel

Costume designer

Maïra Ramedhan-Levi


Cécile de France (Samantha)
Thomas Doret (Cyril)
Jérémie Renier (Guy Catoul)
Fabrizio Rongione (bookseller)
Egon Di Mateo (Wes)
Olivier Gourmet (bar owner)


Cannes (In Competition) 2011


Grand Prix, Cannes Film Festival 2011


Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, already two-time Cannes victors with Rosetta and L’Enfant, this year shared the Festival’s Grand Prix for this gripping emotional drama. Filming for once in summer, and evincing unusual hopefulness, they bring their inimitable tough love to the story of a wild 11-year-old boy rebounding between the judicious care of a kind, single woman (Cécile de France) and the blandishments of a streetwise older boy. — BG

“The opening has the visceral charge of a great chase scene as 11-year-old Cyril (Thomas Doret) makes a mad dash to evade his counselors and flee the children’s home where he has been placed temporarily. In his first screen role, the remarkable Doret bristles with anger and flailing determination; this wiry, ginger-haired kid conveys a desperation that is shattering…

What follows is not a conventional chronicle of a troubled child scarred by abandonment issues, learning to experience the unfamiliar sensations of love and trust, though to some degree, that happens. Instead, it’s a robustly plotted and highly suspenseful battle to save uncontrollable Cyril from self-destruction…

Without ever articulating it in words, the film over and over again illustrates with wrenching effectiveness every child’s primal hunger for parental love and acceptance….

There isn’t a single unearned emotion… Kindness is evident in even the most hurt or exasperated moments of de France’s lovely performance. But then, kindness couched in unblinking social realism is an intrinsic part of how these supremely gifted filmmakers view the world.” — David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter