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Directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne • 2019 • Belgium, France
Starring Idir Ben Addi, Olivier Bonnaud, Myriem Akheddiou
Winner of the best director award at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, the latest social-realist triumph from Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne finds the pair applying their patented brand of heartrendingly empathetic humanism to an explosive subject. Under the sway of his radical imam, Ahmed (Idir Ben Addi, in a revelatory debut performance), a thirteen-year-old Muslim boy growing up in a small Belgian town, becomes increasingly enamored with the tenets of violent religious extremism—a rejection of his family and society that has shocking consequences. Resisting both easy answers and the urge to sensationalize, the Dardenne brothers offer a clear-eyed, grippingly naturalistic portrait of a young life in crisis graced with the expansive compassion that has made them among the most consistently lauded cinematic voices of our time.