Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne
(The Promise / La promesa)
(Belgium-France-Luxembourg-Tunisia, 1996) [Color, 94 m.].
Les rapports père-fils à travers Igor, quinze ans, apprenti mécanicien et fou de karting, et de Roger, qui trafique dans l'immigration clandestine. Igor, impliqué dans les combines de son père, ne se pose pas trop de questions, jusqu'au jour où, à cause d'une promesse, il va devoir choisir. Mais peut-il dire la vérité sans trahir son père? (Allociné)
Igor and his father, Roger, are making a decent living renting apartments to illegal immigrants and sometimes working them illegally (among other scams). But when the building inspector pays a surprise visit and Amidou falls off a scaffold in his hurry to hide, things start to unravel, particularly when Igor makes a promise to the injured Amidou that ultimately exposes the different values of Igor and Roger, and of Amidou's wife, Assita. (IMDb)
AMG SYNOPSIS: A young man born into criminal circumstances is forced to deal with his conscience in this drama from Belgium. Roger (Olivier Gourmet) is a corrupt businessman who smuggles illegal aliens into Antwerp and protects them from the law in exchange for working with his construction company. However, Roger pays meager wages for back-breaking labor and charges aliens appallingly high rent for substandard housing. Roger has a 15-year-old son, Igor (Jeremie Renier), who has learned from his father to steal and twist the truth; Igor is loyal to Roger, despite his father's frequent violence against him. One day, Amidou (Rasmane Ouedraogo), one of the illegals working for Roger, falls from a construction site; as he is dying, Amidou begs Igor to watch over his wife Assita (Assita Ouedraogo) and their child. While Roger and his partners try to keep the death a secret to avoid police interference, Igor constructs an elaborate web of lies to ease the concerns of Assita, who does not know that her husband has passed. Before long, Igor's loyalties are torn between his concern for his father's safety and his guilty affection for Assita. La Promesse was voted the Best Foreign Language Film of 1997 by America's National Society of Film Critics. -- Mark Deming
AMG REVIEW: The moral dilemma in La Promesse -- whether to honor family loyalty or expose wrongdoing by a member of your family -- is made all the more difficult when the person caught in the middle is a teenager who wants nothing more than to drive go-carts and just hang out. Igor (Jeremie Renier) is that boy, and his life is bound up with his hard-working father's schedule, which involves illegal activities (immigrant smuggling) compounded by worker and tenant exploitation. Igor loves his old man, Roger (Olivier Gourmet), even if the guy can get a little testy and violent at times. There's a lovely scene in which they go to a bar, Igor at first sulking about some disagreement, but sliding into a haze of affection fueled by alcohol (on Roger's part) and communal singing. It's only when Igor agrees to honor a promise asked by a dying man that he's forced to see Roger's activities for what they are. Brother filmmakers Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne skillfully pull us into this world, filming with a handheld camera in available light, to reflect Igor's growing sense of dislocation and the shadowy world in which he and Roger live. Renier, with his thatch of blonde hair that's almost white, and Gourmet, burly and alternately menacing and affectionate, play off each other well, creating a complex father-son relationship rarely seen in recent films. -- Tom Wiener
La promesse is the breakthrough feature from Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, who would go on to become a force in world filmmaking. The brothers brought the unerring eye for detail and the compassion for those on society’s lowest rungs developed in their earlier documentary work to this absorbing drama about a teenager (Jérémie Renier) gradually coming to understand the implications of his father’s making a living through the exploitation of undocumented workers. Filmed in the Dardennes’ industrial hometown of Seraing, Belgium, La promesse is a brilliantly economical and observant tale of a boy’s troubled moral awakening. (Criterion)
** Criterion Collection (2012) / 1.66:1 / 1:34:24 (94 m.) **
- New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Alain Marcoen -
DVDBeaver / BluRay.com
** BRRip VO+SI/SCh / AAC 2.0 / 800x480 (1.667) / 01:34:24 (94 m.) **
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La.Promesse.1996.BD.CC.MiniSD-TLF.mkv [703.11 Mb]
Subtitles (mkv muxed): English, Chinese.
Subtitles (direct download): english / spanish .