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Dardenne brothers

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Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Luc (right) and Jean-Pierre Dardenne in 2015
BornJean-Pierre: (1951-04-21) 21 April 1951 (age 73)
Liège, Belgium
Luc: (1954-03-10) 10 March 1954 (age 70)
Liège, Belgium
Occupation(s)Film directors, producers, screenwriters
Years active1978–present
AwardsFull list

Brothers Jean-Pierre Dardenne CMW (French: [daʁdɛn]; born 21 April 1951)[1] and Luc Dardenne CMW (born 10 March 1954),[1] collectively referred to as the Dardenne brothers, are a Belgian filmmaking duo. They write, produce, and direct their films together.[1] They also own the production company Les Films du Fleuve.

The Dardennes began making narrative and documentary films in the late 1970s. They came to international attention in the mid-1990s with La Promesse (The Promise). They won their first major international film prize when Rosetta won the Palme d'Or at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival. Their work tends to reflect left-wing themes and points-of-view.

In 2002, Olivier Gourmet won Best Actor at Cannes for the Dardennes' Le Fils (The Son). In 2005, they won the Palme d'Or a second time for their film L'Enfant (The Child), putting them in an elite club, at the time, of only seven. Their film, Le Silence de Lorna (Lorna's Silence), won Best Screenplay at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival and was released in Europe in the fall. Their film The Kid with a Bike won the Grand Prix at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, received one Golden Globe nomination and eight Magritte Award nominations.[2] Jean-Pierre was the jury president for the Cinéfoundation and Short Films sections of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.[3] In 2015, their film Deux jours, une nuit (Two Days, One Night) received nine Magritte Award nominations (winning three) and one Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for Marion Cotillard. Their 2019 feature Young Ahmed won them the Best Director Award at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.[4] Their 2022 film Tori and Lokita won the 75th Anniversary Prize at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.[5]


The Dardenne Brothers at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.

Creators of intensely naturalistic films about working class life in Belgium, brothers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne have created a notable body of work since 1996. With La Promesse (The Promise) (1996), Rosetta (1999), Le Fils (The Son) (2002), and L'Enfant (The Child) (2005), the Dardennes' films show young people at the fringes of society – immigrants, the unemployed, the inhabitants of shelters. Both Rosetta and L'Enfant were awarded the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, the only two Belgian films ever to earn the honor.

The Dardennes were born and raised in Seraing in Liege, in Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium. Jean-Pierre (born in 1951) studied drama while Luc (born three years later) studied philosophy.[citation needed] In 1975 they established Derives, the production company that produced the roughly sixty documentary films they made before branching into feature films. These films covered such topics as Polish immigration, World War II resistance, a general strike in 1960. Their first two feature films, however, are rarely seen today: Falsch (1987) adapted from René Kalisky, featuring Bruno Cremer and Je pense a vous (1992). The Dardennes had their first international success with La Promesse (The Promise) in 1996.

In 1994, they launched the production company Les Films du Fleuve, which produces all of their films and also films by other European directors such as Ken Loach, Jacques Audiard and Benoît Jacquot.[6][7]

With Rosetta the Dardennes turned their focus to the burdens – philosophical, spiritual, psychological – of unemployment. Émilie Dequenne, who had not acted in film before, and was awarded the Best Actress Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, is the title character, a young woman living with her alcoholic mother in a trailer park. The film is about Rosetta's search for purpose and to Rosetta purpose can only be found through work – she makes her way through Seraing's fringes for the most menial of positions; she catches fish in the muddy, murky stream by her trailer park. Rosetta was the first Belgian film ever to win the Palme d'Or at Cannes, coming in ahead of films by David Lynch, Pedro Almodóvar, Takeshi Kitano, and Raoul Ruiz. The film provided some impetus for a labor law designed to protect young workers like Rosetta shortly after the film's release. "'[I]t was pure chance,' Jean-Pierre insists. 'There was already a bill going through, and the minister took advantage of our award to call it the Rosetta Law. But we never intended to get laws changed.' Luc adds: 'Of course, we always hope our films will speak to people, disturb them, but we never hoped to change the world'."[citation needed]

Crimes and occupations again figure prominently in the Dardennes' fourth film, L'Enfant (The Child). The film earned the Dardennes the Palme d'Or from Cannes, their second in seven years. L'Enfant won the André Cavens Award in 2005, making directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne fourth-time winners of the award.[citation needed]

The Dardenne brothers have a regular stable of collaborators (for all of their films the brothers share writing and directing credits), including cinematographer Alain Marcoen and editor Marie-Hélène Dozo. Jérémie Renier played Igor in La Promesse, Bruno in L'Enfant, Claudy in Le Silence de Lorna (Lorna's Silence), Guy in Le gamin au vélo (The Kid with a Bike), and Bryan's father in The Unknown Girl (La Fille inconnue). Olivier Gourmet, the main character of Le fils, has a brief cameo as a detective in L'Enfant. Like Rosetta's Emilie Dequenne, Déborah François, the seventeen-year-old lead in L'Enfant, was appearing in her first film. Luc Dardenne has described their process of working with actors as follows: "What we do with the actors is also very physical. The day filming begins we do not feel obliged to do things exactly the way they were rehearsed; we pretend that we are starting over from zero so that we can rediscover things that we did before. The instructions we give the actors are above all physical. We start working without the cameraman—just the actors and my brother and me. We walk them through the blocking, first one then the other, trying several different versions. They say but do not act their lines. We do not tell them what the tone of their lines should be; we just say that we will see once the camera is rolling. At this point there is no cameraman, no sound engineer, no lighting. Then we set up all the camera movements exactly and the rhythm of the shot, which is usually a long take. Doing it this way allows us the ability to modify the actors' movements or any small details."[citation needed]

The Dardennes often employ handheld cameras and use available light.[citation needed] In 2009, they signed a petition in support of director Roman Polanski, who had been detained while traveling to a film festival in relation to his 1977 sexual abuse charges, which the petition argued would undermine the tradition of film festivals as a place for works to be shown "freely and safely", and that arresting filmmakers traveling to neutral countries could open the door "for actions of which no-one can know the effects."[8][9]

In June 2012, the brothers were invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[10]

Their 2014 film Two Days, One Night was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.[11] The film received nine nominations at the 5th Magritte Awards, winning three, including Best Film and Best Director.[12] Marion Cotillard received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her performance in the film, the first Oscar nomination for a Dardenne brothers film.[13]

In 2014, their body of work was awarded the special prize of the 40th Anniversary of the Ecumenical Jury at the Cannes Film Festival.[14]

In 2016, they released The Unknown Girl (La Fille inconnue), starring Adèle Haenel as a young doctor who lets the door buzzer of her small clinic go unanswered one evening after work hours and then grows determined to discover the identity of the young woman found dead nearby when the police see from a security tape that she had been the person ringing at the door.[15][16]

Their 2019 film Young Ahmed, a film about a Belgian teenager embracing Islamic extremism,[17] was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and they won the Best Director prize.[18]

Their 2022 film Tori and Lokita,[19] was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and won the 75th Anniversary Prize.[5]



Year Title Credited as Notes
Directors Screenwriters Producers
1987 Falsch Yes Yes
1989 Le premier enfant Yes Yes Yes
1992 Je pense à vous Yes Yes Yes
1995 Faute de soleil Yes Co-producers
1996 La Promesse Yes Yes
1999 Rosetta Yes Yes Yes
2001 The Milk of Human Kindness Yes Co-producers
2002 The Son Yes Yes Yes
2003 The Living World Yes Co-producers
2003 Stormy Weather Yes
2003 The Sun Assassinated Yes
2005 The Axe Yes Co-producers
2005 L'Enfant Yes Yes Yes
2006 The Colonel Yes
2007 Vous êtes de la police? Yes Co-producers
2008 Lorna's Silence Yes Yes Yes
2009 The Front Line Yes
2010 K.O.R. Yes
2011 The Kid with a Bike Yes Yes Yes
2011 The Minister Yes
2012 Rust and Bone Yes Co-producers
2012 Beyond the Hills Yes Co-producers
2013 Marina Yes Co-producers
2013 Je fais le mort Yes Co-producers
2014 Two Days, One Night Yes Yes Yes
2014 Wild Life Yes Co-producers
2015 Diary of a Chambermaid Yes Co-producers
2015 Cowboys Yes Co-producers
2015 Long Live the Bride Yes Co-producers
2016 Le Fils de Joseph Yes Co-producers
2016 Hedi Yes Co-producers
2016 Graduation Yes Co-producers
2016 Pericle Yes Co-producers
2016 The Unknown Girl Yes Yes Yes
2016 Les Carnivores Yes Co-producers
2019 Young Ahmed Yes Yes Yes
2022 Tori and Lokita Yes Yes Yes
2023 Jeanne du Barry Yes Co-producers
2023 The Old Oak Yes Co-producers


Year Title Credited as Notes
Directors Screenwriters Producers
1978 Le Chant du rossignol Yes
1980 Pour que la guerre s'achève, les murs devraient s'écrouler Yes Yes
1981 R... ne répond plus Yes Yes Also cinematographers and editors
1982 Leçons d'une université volante Yes Yes Also cinematographers
1983 Regarde Jonathan, Jean Louvet, son œuvre Yes Also editors and camera operators
1997 Gigi, Monica... et Bianca Yes Executive producers
2000 La Devinière Yes Line producer
2002 Brook by Brook Yes TV; co-producers
2002 Romances de terre et d'eau Yes
2005 Il fare politica Yes
2006 Rwanda, les collines parlent Yes
2007 Why We Can't See Each Other Outside When the Sun is Shining Yes
2009 Children Without a Shadow Yes Executive producers
2012 Un été avec Anton Yes TV
2013 À ciel ouvert Yes Co-producers


Year Title Credited as Notes
Directors Screenwriters Producers
1979 Lorsque le bateau de Leon M. descendit la Meuse pour la première fois Yes Yes Documentary; also cinematographers
1987 Il court, il court, le monde Yes Yes
1999 L'Héritier Yes Executive producers
2002 First Love Yes
2007 Dans l'obscurité Yes Yes Segment of the anthology film To Each His Own Cinema
2008 Premier Jour Yes
2011 Bloody Eyes Yes

Honours, awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne". Les Films du Fleuve. Archived from the original on 30 August 2021. Retrieved 22 July 2022.
  2. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Official Selection". Cannes. Archived from the original on 15 May 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  3. ^ "The Jury for the Cinéfondation and Short Films". Cannes Film Festival. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  4. ^ "Cannes 2019: Belgium's Dardenne brothers win best director for Young Ahmed". Firstpost. 26 May 2019. Archived from the original on 27 May 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Jean-Pierre Dardenne - Festival de Cannes". festival-cannes. Archived from the original on 20 July 2022. Retrieved 22 July 2022.
  6. ^ "The Euro 75: Les Films du Fleuve (Belgium)". Screen Daily. 15 May 2022.
  7. ^ "Les Films du Fleuve [BE]". Cineuropa. Retrieved 6 May 2023.
  8. ^ "Le cinéma soutient Roman Polanski / Petition for Roman Polanski - SACD". archive.ph. 4 June 2012. Archived from the original on 4 June 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2022.
  9. ^ Shoard, Catherine; Agencies (29 September 2009). "Release Polanski, demands petition by film industry luminaries". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 28 June 2019. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  10. ^ "Academy Invites 176 to Membership". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 29 June 2012. Archived from the original on 2 July 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  11. ^ "2014 Official Selection". Cannes. Archived from the original on 18 October 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  12. ^ "Magritte: Pluie de nominations pour les Dardenne et Lucas Belvaux". La Libre Belgique (in French). 7 January 2015. Archived from the original on 13 January 2015. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  13. ^ "Academy Award nominations for Marion Cotillard and "Song of the Sea"". Belga News Agency. 15 January 2015. Archived from the original on 19 November 2016. Retrieved 22 July 2022.
  14. ^ "Hommage à l'oeuvre des Frères Dardenne pour les 40 ans du Jury". Jury Œcuménique au Festival de Cannes (in French). 22 May 2014. Archived from the original on 29 May 2022. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  15. ^ "César Winner Adèle Haenel To Lead Dardenne Brothers Next Film 'The Unknown Girl'". Indiewire. 23 April 2015. Archived from the original on 21 May 2015. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  16. ^ Dardenne, Jean-Pierre; Dardenne, Luc; Renier, Jérémie; Minnelli, Louka (5 October 2016), The Unknown Girl, archived from the original on 27 January 2017, retrieved 12 January 2017
  17. ^ "Ahmed – Wild Bunch". Archived from the original on 26 November 2018. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  18. ^ "Bong Joon-ho's Parasite Wins the Palme d'Or at Cannes". Variety. 25 May 2019. Archived from the original on 5 June 2019. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  19. ^ "Casting pour le prochain film des frères Dardenne – Cinevox" (in French). 13 January 2021. Archived from the original on 22 January 2021. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  20. ^ "La grand-croix aux Dardenne". Le Soir. 11 July 2005. Archived from the original on 22 July 2022. Retrieved 22 July 2022.


  • Sebastiano Gesù (ed.), Etica ed estetica dello sguardo. Il cinema dei fratelli Dardenne, Catania, 2006.

Further reading[edit]

  • Luc Dardenne Au dos de nos images, 1991–2005, éditions du Seuil, Paris, 2005 (a philosophical diary about the making of his films and the one of his brother)
  • Luc Dardenne, Sur l'affaire humaine, Le Seuil, 2012.
  • Luc Dardenne, Au dos de nos images: Tome 2, 2005–2014 (2015)
  • Feuillère, Anne. "Dardennes take on Le silence de Lorna". 10 October 2007.2007. Cineuropa, 10 October 2007.
  • West, Joan M., West, Dennis. "Taking the Measure of Human Relationships: An Interview with Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne." Cineaste, Summer 2003, Vol. 28, Issue 3.
  • Bickerton, Emilie. "The Art and Politics of the Dardenne Brothers." Cineaste, Spring2006, Vol. 31, Issue 2.
  • Ansen, David. "An awakening." Newsweek, 30 June 1997, Vol. 129, Issue 26.
  • Kauffmann, Stanley. "In a Cruel City." The New Republic, 26 May 1997, Vol. 216, Issue 21.
  • Cunneen, Michael. "Films take on the big issues power and faith." National Catholic Reporter, 12/03/99, Vol. 36, Issue 6.
  • Smith, Gavin. "Promises Fulfilled." The Village Voice, 8 June 1999, Vol.
  • Johnstone, Sheila. "The secret of the Dardenne brothers' Palme d'Or success." The Independent, 17 March 2006.
  • Hoberman, J. "Acts of faith." The Village Voice, 8 January 2003, Vol. 48
  • Scott, A.O. "A Father and the Boy Who Killed His Son." The New York Times, 28 September 2002, Vol. 152 Issue 52255
  • Klawans, Stuart. "The Wild Child." The Nation, 10 April 2006, Vol. 282 Issue 14.
  • Wolfreys, Jim. "Reality Bites." Socialist Review, December 2008, Issue 331.
  • Mai, Joseph. "Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne". University of Illinois Press, 2010 ISBN 978-0-252-07711-1
  • Crano, R.d., "Furtive Urbanism in the Films of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne," Film-Philosophy 13.1, April 2009.
  • Dillet, B. and T. Puri, 'Left-over spaces: The cinema of the Dardenne brothers', Film-Philosophy, 17.1, 2013, pp. 367–82.
  • Olivier Ducharme, Films de combat. La résistance du cinéma des frères Dardenne, Montréal, Varia, 2017.
  • Mayward, Joel, "The Scapegoat: The Dardenne Brothers' The Son." Bright Wall/Dark Room, Issue 81: "Sacrifice," 16 March 2020, [1].

External links[edit]