Remarkable and moving childhood film

MANY memorable films have been made about childhoods and the latest of them comes from Belgium.

It is entitled The Kid with a Bike and it is the work of the Dardenne brothers, Jean-Pierre and Luc, who always collaborate on their films as both writers and directors.

The film is not a presentation of the Eastbourne Film Society (their season with seats for the general public opens at the Curzon Cinema on Wednesday, September 19).

But the Curzon will be screening it next Wednesday, September 12, as a precursor to that the Society’s season and it can be recommended to all who enjoy the Society’s films.

Two features common to many of the great films about childhood are to be found again in The Kid with a Bike.

First, the story is told from the viewpoint of the child (a factor which encourages audience identification) and, secondly, it contains a remarkable performance from the child actor concerned.

Here it is Thomas Doret who plays Cyril, the 11-year-old at the centre of the story.

Cyril is a child who has been brought up by a single parent, his father, but when we first meet him he is in care and being looked after because his father has disappeared.

A chance encounter between Cyril and a hairdresser names Samantha (Cécile de France) brings out both her social and her maternal instincts.

And in time it becomes clear that she would like to treat him as her adopted child.

But the boy firmly refuses to believe that he has been deserted and obsessively goes in quest of his father, Guy (Jérémie Renier).

Cyril‘s story deserves a happy ending, but will it have one and, if it does, will it be with Samantha or with Guy?

The answer becomes apparent, but not until the very last shot in this moving and remarkable film.