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The Dardenne brothers have their own style of film making. Just like those other famous brothers, the Coens, their films are instantly recognizable. They are always about people in some kind of trouble. They are always filmed in a cinema vérité-style. They always seem to sympathize with the underdogs in society. And they always focus on the dramatic aspects, not on the plot or the cinematography. ‘Le gamin au vélo’ is no exception. This time, the story is about a young boy in search for his father, and the hairdresser who takes care of him. The seemingly simple events are filmed in a gripping style, full of intensity. What really stands out in this film is the way the young boy, Cyril, is played by Thomas Doret. His obsessive determination to find his father is completely convincing. Cyril is not a sympathetic child. In fact, his stubborn and strange behaviour is sometimes so irritating that you want to slap him in the face. In the very first scene of the film, the Dardennes show us that they are great filmmakers. We see a boy dialing a telephone number that is disconnected. A man tells him to stop, because it is useless, but he keeps on dialing the same number. It shows us the boy’s obsession for his father. Cyril cannot accept the fact that his father has left him, and he clings to the number that was his only connection to him. The same thing goes for the bicycle (the ‘vélo’ from the title). His father gave it to him, so it has a special meaning. That’s why Cyril cherishes the bike. The first part of the film is full of extremely strong dramatic scenes. Take for instance the moment Samantha, the hairdresser, seems to break down in spite of her infinite patience with Cyril. After Cyril has left her house, although she has forbidden him to go out, she starts sobbing. But after a few seconds, she recollects herself, takes the phone and calls the orphanage. That such simple things have such great dramatic meaning, is the power of the Dardenne’s film making. Another very intense moment is when Samantha breaks up with her boyfriend because of Cyril. The boyfriend tells her: it’s him or me. And she answers: it’s him. The second half of the movie is less powerful. The events after Cyril has found his father are not as intense as the first scenes, but still make good cinema. The weak point is the ending. The story just seems to stop, without any final statement or conclusion.