Expat Magazine

The Golden Orange Film Festival, Take 2: In Which I Fail to Be Moved by an Adorable Rapscallion

By Ellen @ElleninTurkey
The Golden Orange Film Festival, take 2:  In which I fail to be moved by an adorable rapscallion
Of the four films I saw at the festival, only one was sold out.  Le Gamin et le velo ( The kid with a bike) was the piece de resistance; a film by the Belgian Dardenne brothers and the winner of the Cannes Jury Prize.  So I was disappointed to find this the only film I didn't like.
 In addition to the two fascinating films I wrote about in a previous post, I also enjoyed White Lions, a comedy from Serbia.  If anyone thinks Occupy Wall Street is about class warfare he should see White Lions to get a taste of the real thing. But this story of a working class family, struggling to earn a living any way they can, is peppered with scenes so funny that the "workers of the world unite" message goes down easily. In fact, the main character raps about it at the end. Serbian proletariate rap, now that's something you don't see everyday.
What we do see everyday are melodramas about troubled kids who just need someone to love them. And this is what we get with The kid with a bike.   The film begins with Cyril's attempt to escape from the foster center where he lives.  Had this been an evil place where  he'd been abused I'd have been rooting for him, but it wasn't, so the first impression I got was that the kid was a pain in the ass.  This impression never changed.  Yes, it's sad that Cyril escapes to visit his father and finds that he's moved without leaving a forwarding address, and that he's sold Cyril's bike.  But he has the good fortune to run into Samantha, a sympathetic woman who wants to help him.  She gets his bike back, and lets him spend weekends with her.  But the kid falls under the influence of the local bad guy, who convinces him to commit a mugging with a baseball bat.  The mugging goes awry, the bad guy tells Cyril to get lost, and Cyril finally realizes that  Samantha is the person who cares about him.
I have no issue with the acting or the cinematography.  I just didn't find this straightforward plot very interesting, and it baffled me why this is a prize-winning film.  True, I saw the film in French with Turkish subtitles, so it's possibly I missed some nuance.  But I don't think so.  But I also don't think I'm a child-hating ogre.  What am I missing?
Has anyone else seen Le Gamin et le velo?  What did you think of it?

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