The 9th Chennai International Film Festival will open on December 14 with Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s The Kid with a Bike. In French, the movie is one the best about childhood after British director Ken Loach’s 1969 Kes (about a young boy physically and verbally bullied at home and in school) and Vittorio De Sica’s 1948 Italian neorealist Bicycle Thieves.
The Dardenne Brothers’ The Kid with a Bike (coming after their somewhat disappointing 2008 Loma’s Silence) premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this year in the top competition section.
A poignantly touching movie about a 11-year-old boy, angry at being abandoned in a children’s home by his father, who even sells the lad’s precious bike, The Kid… has been scripted and mounted with sheer excellence. And do watch out for that superb climax.
And this is part of my review that appeared in this newspaper during the Cannes Film Festival: “The Kid With A Bike is a revelation of sorts, for it conveys that the most extraordinary stories are happening right outside our front doors, and the Dardenne Brothers give us an engrossing account of one such through sparse frames and very few words. There is but little music -- brief notes of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto to draw us into an emotionally charged scene or two. This no-frills recounting of events translates into powerful cinema, proving that verbosity and unnecessary garnishing of frames can be awfully counterproductive.
One writer compares The Kid With The Bike to Charles Dickens’ literature, more specifically to his minimalist Oliver Twist. The Kid… seems to be a modern version of this great classic.”
The Chennai Festival has certainly grown from a very small affair in 2003 to something far more impressive than in the past. However, it is still not recognised by FIAPF or the International Federation of Film Producers’ Associations, which supervise movie festivals across continents.
This year, the Chennai Festival will screen 130-odd films from 53 countries. An Indian Panorama of eight works and an exclusive competition for Tamil cinema with a dozen entries are some of the highlights.
Organised by the Indo-Cine Appreciation Forum, a registered movie society, the Festival runs on a very modest budget, Rs 25 lakhs having coming from the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister this year. Also, it is only now beginning to attract some South Indian film industry attention.
The festival runs till December 22.