In three decades of staring at those struggling to survive on the fringes of European society, the Belgian brothers have not only secured a privileged place among the world’s most acclaimed filmmakers, they have also won the Cannes Palme d’Or. The festival is no less than twice, but they also made surnames synonymous with a creative method based on formal and plot austerity and precise management of narrative rhythm. With ‘Tori and Lokita’, In their twelfth feature film, they use the harrowing portrait of two sub-Saharan minors forced to survive Liège’s criminal world to show how effective the method is still.
What prompted you to tell this story?
LD: We had the idea ten years ago that we read an article about a series of alarming disappearances of unaccompanied foreign minors that no one could find an explanation for. Such events are unacceptable in democratic societies where the law and the protection of children prevail on paper. The problem is that the law says that an illegal immigrant must be deported once they turn 18, and many of these children try to avoid the deportation of an illegal immigrant. underground crime. And it’s an easy target because if they die, no one will have the body.
JP.D.: In any case, we wanted to address the issue by focusing on the friendship between them. two sub-Saharan minors. We have read psychiatric reports that the suffering of these young people is exacerbated by the loneliness they experience in host countries and that friendship can be a key survival mechanism.
‘Tori and Lokita’, one way or another migration. Why do they insist?
LD: Because we don’t learn anything. Our representatives continue to view immigration as a problem, something that can be prevented or stopped by law. But migrations will not and should not stop. This is human history a migration story and no one can speak of a single culture that is not the direct or indirect product of such human flux. Immigrants do not come just to rob us, on the contrary, they enrich us. Therefore, the law should provide them with more hospitality, more integration and more education.
In any case, European treatment of immigrants from Africa is very different from the treatment of immigrants from Ukraine in recent times. What do you think about this topic?
JP.D.: Okay, maybe the differential treatment reveals a certain racism based on the fact that Europe only shows solidarity with white and Christian immigrants. However, it is undeniable that the European Union serves the Ukrainian people, and that’s a good thing. I believe it helps European citizens firmly establish the idea that the only acceptable thing to do is to side with those who are harassed and persecuted by tyrants. It would be naive to think we’ve learned our lesson, but it’s a first step.. The next step will be to stop shrugging when we learn that 40 people have drowned at sea.
The rise of the far right on the continent will certainly not make things easier in this sense…
LD: I don’t want to stop at a moral point to lecture, as typical left-wing intellectuals tend to do, but I am a European citizen and therefore concerned about the growing popularity of hate speech. How can such slogans succeed in modern, prosperous and democratic societies? Of course, the explanation is not the same for every country. But it seems clear to me that the far right is adopting symbols and strategies that used to belong to communism; after all, it seeks to attract the electorate by appealing to the kind of sense of community that once defined the labor movement. The scary thing is that they try to build community out of shared xenophobia.
A question they’ll be tired of answering: Can cinema fix things?
JP.D.: Our movie was dedicated to a French baker last year. hunger strike because his apprentice, a Guinean boy who had just turned 18, was to be deported. Thanks to the citizen support he received, the boy was finally able to stay in France and is now a respected and highly valued baker. It is important to make such stories known; pars, cinema works. Our films cannot change the law, but they can remove prejudice.
Many of his films feature children. Is this a coincidence?
LD: No. We see the world through the eyes of a child. Perhaps because children are the weakest and often forgotten, excluded or exploited. A child’s pain is unacceptable in any way because there is no nuance or ideology worth it.
His cinema has created a school and many young directors are making ‘Dardennian’ films. Does he praise them or annoy them?
JPD: Good, sure. We are also influenced by the filmmakers we admire. The point is, yes, to use these effects as a starting point, to take them into their own plots. no movie it can be really good if it is based only on imitation, because then it has no soul.