The First Responder

The Unknown Girl

The Unknown Girl may seem to meander in its midsection, but by the end it is gripping on every level. It’s a whodunnit complete with car chase. It’s a character study of a woman learning what her vocation will really demand of her. It’s a portrait of a community, impoverished and divided, whose only common link is the doctor. And it’s a portrayal of guilt, shame, and deliverance as rich and memorable as any I’ve seen [ . . . }

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In Search of… The Dardenne Brothers’ ‘Unknown Girl’ revisits their theme of ordinary people facing moral dilemmas 

Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have been making movies together since the 1980s. The brothers, who write, direct and produce, are best-known for their breakout films, La Promesse (1996), about a young man (Jérémie Renier) whose father (Olivier Gourmet) trafficks African immigrants, and Rosetta (1998), a portrait of a disenfranchised teenager (Émilie Dequenne) who undermines a friend in order to get steady work. Nearly all of the Dardenne Brothers’ movies are about working-class characters who are compelled to make difficult decisions. Their latest feature, The Unknown Girl (opening Sept. 8 from IFC Films), represents a slight departure: Its protagonist is an ambitious medical doctor.Jenny Davin (Adèle Haenel) is middle-class. At the beginning of The Unknown Girl, she is on the verge of leaving her current position to join [ . . . ]

Read Full Review: In Search of… The Dardenne Brothers’ ‘Unknown Girl’ revisits their theme of ordinary people facing moral dilemmas | Film Journal International

‘The Unknown Girl’: What happens when the Dardenne brothers make a thriller

Every movie made by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne arouses my interest and admiration, ever since the Belgian brothers first burst onto the international scene with “The Promise” in 1996. Over the years they have become part of the small circle of directors to win the Palme d’Or twice at the Cannes Film Festival (for “Rosetta” in 1999 and “The Child” in 2005). In addition, they have won various other prizes in the same competition, in which every film of theirs is sure to be included. Their oeuvre encompasses such fine works as “The Son,” “The Kid with a Bike” and “Two Days, One Night.”The Dardennes do more than adhere, stubbornly and in their unique style, to the tradition of realist filmmaking that tackles social [ . . . ] More: ‘The Unknown Girl’: What happens when the Dardenne brothers make a thriller – Movies –

Dardenne brothers: “We felt the rhythm of the film was wrong”

“There is an American photographer who, every year, took portraits of his wife and her sisters,” Luc Dardenne tells me. “As they get older in the photographs they huddle together more. They become physically closer. They hold on to each other more.”So Luc and his brother Jean-Pierre have come together in this fashion? They are closer now than they ever were?“Ah, it’s like…” Jean-Pierre says and, as his English runs out, makes ambiguous gesture with both thumbs and both forefingers.

They need money from each other?“ No. No. Ha ha ha!” I mean they are scared.”If mortality is nipping at the film-makers’ heels they are putting a brave face upon it. Almost everybody who has interviewed Jean-Pierre and Luc – directors of such realist masterpieces as L’Enfant and The Son – has noted the pleasing contrast between the sobriety of the films and the gaiety of their creators. The Belgians could hardly be friendlier.“ Continue reading “Dardenne brothers: “We felt the rhythm of the film was wrong””