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The Kid With A Bike / Le gamin au vlo (Version française)

Thomas Doret , Cécile De France , Jean-Pierre Dardenne , Luc Dardenne    Unrated   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 22.99
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Product Description

Cyril, almost 12, has only one plan: to find the father who left him temporarily in a children's home. By chance he meets Samantha, who runs a hairdressing salon and agrees to let him stay with her at weekends. Cyril doesn't recognize the love Samantha feels for him, a love he desperately needs to calm his rage.

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Cyril, bientôt 12 ans, n'a qu'une idée en tête : retrouver son père qui l'a placé provisoirement dans un foyer pour enfants. Il rencontre par hasard Samantha, qui tient un salon de coiffure et qui accepte de l'accueillir chez elle pendant les week-ends. Mais Cyril ne voit pas encore l'amour que Samantha lui porte, cet amour dont il a pourtant besoin pour apaiser sa colère ...

From the Studio

Cyril, almost 12, has only one plan: to find the father who left him temporarily in a children's home. By chance he meets Samantha, who runs a hairdressing salon and agrees to let him stay with her at weekends. Cyril doesn't recognize the love Samantha feels for him, a love he desperately needs to calm his rage.

Cyril, bientôt 12 ans, n’a qu’une idée en tête : retrouver son père qui l’a placé provisoirement dans un foyer pour enfants. Il rencontre par hasard Samantha, qui tient un salon de coiffure et qui accepte de l’accueillir chez elle pendant les week-ends. Mais Cyril ne voit pas encore l’amour que Samantha lui porte, cet amour dont il a pourtant besoin pour apaiser sa colère... (©Les Films du Fleuve)



Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
If you only like mainstream Hollywood movies, don't bother reading the rest of this or getting this film.

But if you love cinema, you should know Belgium's Dardennes brothers are film masters and this is the latest in their body of work. A young boy abandoned by his parents meets a hairstylist while trying to reconnect with his absent father. He works through his rage as he learns that love is a choice, not an obligation and who really loves him. Astonishing performances, elegant film making.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Belgian Indie Drama with heart May 14 2013
By Tommy Dooley HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Released in Belgium as `Le gamin au velo' in 2011 this is the story of Cyril played by Thomas Doret. He is an 11 year old child whose father has sent him to a children's home for a while until he gets sorted. Meanwhile his father has stopped using his phones so his son cant even contact him and Cyril gets completely over wrought and escapes in order to track down his papa.

He also wants his beloved bike back, but soon finds out that papa has done a moonlight flit. Then by accident he runs into Samantha, a local hairdresser with a heart of gold. She starts to help him and soon a relationship forms, but hanging around his fathers old haunts puts him at the mercy of some of the local ne'er do wells and things are going to happen.

This is one of those small independent films that some avoid like a rabid pooch and others embrace like a fluffy kitten. I am in the middle and actually really appreciated this effort; the fabulously named Cecile de France is superb as the caring Samantha. I really could not have done what she did for this quite unruly child. Thomas Doret is also brilliant as the irascible little tyke. Some will have issues with the ending which can be seen as `too easy' but it also avoids the rather unwelcoming pit that is over sentimentality. This then is for fans of World and especially Gallic cinema who like to think about their films and not just let them wash over you, so if that floats your `bateau' then this should be right up your `rue'. Apologies for my appalling French.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a voir Oct. 17 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
un autre très bon film à la manière Dardenne. un cinéma vérité comme je les aime; à milles lieux du cinéma américain.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A realistic portrayal of a troubled childhood Feb. 18 2013
By Steven Aldersley TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
It seems that the best films about human nature, or real topics that actually matter, are made outside the Hollywood system. I suppose anguish and inner turmoil doesn't translate into an exciting viewing experience, or one that will encourage people to pay to see the film. I understand that equation, and it makes me respect filmmakers who attempt to bring to life these rarely shown topics.

The Kid with a Bike is one such film. It sits on the top row of my movie collection right next to Kes, and that's so appropriate. Both films are about childhood, and boys who do not have a loving family environment. Incidentally, both were made in Europe.

The title reminds me of The Bicycle Thief, and I found that to be one of the most touching and realistic portrayals of a father/son relationship. The Kid with a Bike is touching in a different way.

This review contains spoilers, and reveals a similar amount of information as the trailer. If you don't want to know anything else about the story, please stop reading now.

The film is about 11-year-old Cyril Catoul (Thomas Doret), who lives in a children's home. His mother isn't mentioned at any point in the story, and his father has abandoned him. The opening scenes show Cyril trying to come to terms with his situation. He doesn't believe that his father wouldn't want him, or that he would move out of his apartment without telling Cyril where he was going. Cyril is angry and aggressive, and only calms down a little when he's shown that his father's old apartment is truly empty.

During his struggles, he grabs hold of a woman. She's Samantha (Cécile De France), and wants to help. She locates the man who bought Cyril's bike from his father, and buys it back for him.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  40 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Growing Up is Painful Jan. 23 2013
By billy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray
If you're looking for a real and honest portrayal of what it's like to be a child or an adolescent on film, you really have to step outside of the US. There's something about the typical American portrayal of kids that never really reaches for anything profound. Three benchmark examples come to mind of non-American portrayals or youth. The first is Francois Truffaut's The 400 Blows, the second is Luis Bunuel's Los Olvidados, and the third is Edward Yang's Yi Yi. THe Dardennes Brothers The Kid With a Bike isn't quite in the league of those films, it's a worthy successor and a fine film in it's own right.

The film focuses on a child named Cyril, played by Thomas Doret. Cyril has been all but abandoned by his father Guy, who is neither financially or emotionally able to care for Cyril. Cyril is living in what appears to be a group home, and he frequently acts out and tries to contact his father. He's mostly rebuked by his father, but a chance encounter with a hairdresser named Samantha, played by Cecile De France, leads to Samantha all but adopting Cyril. It's not an easy transition for the Cyril, who yearns for his father, or any father figure, and eventually falls in with bad crowd.

The Kid with the Bike is about the yearning for a father figure. Cyril's actually father Guy completely rejects him. He's either too emotionally immature or financially unstable to support Cyril. It's likely a combination of both. Samantha's boyfriend, on the otherhand, is completely rejected by Cyril. He seems like a pale reflection of a father figure to him. Eventually Cyril finds a surrogate father in Wes, a young hood who recruits young kids to help him in his various criminal endeavors. This ultimately leads to disappointment as well, as Wes is nothing more than a common hood who feels nothing for Cyril.

So this brings Cyril back to Samantha, the woman who cares for him almost unconditionally. She forsakes the relationship with her boyfriend when he makes her chose between him and Cyril. He choses Cyril. Samantha may not be the father he's looking for, she is there for him and provides the nurturing of a mother.

The ending scene is the only aspect of the film that breaks with the low key nature of the film. I don't want to spoil the ending, but it didn't feel quite as organic as the rest of the film.

If you're a fan of movies like the 400 Blows and Los Olvidados then you'll probably find a lot to like in the Kid with a Bike. If you enjoy low key slice of life dramas then you'll probably like this as well. It's not a perfect film or an out and out classic, but it's an enjoyable and well realized portrayal of a troubled youth.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another solid Belgian movie April 28 2012
By Paul Allaer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
The Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne directed an outstanding movie in 2005 called "The Child" ("L'enfant) which brought widespread critical and in French-speaking Europe also commercial acclaim. Now comes the latest movie from these guys.

"The Kid With a Bike" (Le Gamin au Velo) (2011 from Belgium; 87 min.) brings the story of 11 yr. old Cyril who lives in a youth center. Cyril cannot accept that his father seemingly has abandoned him, and in the first part of the movie we see Cyril trying to run away to find out where his dad is. It becomes clear that the dad indeed is no longer wanting to be involved in Cyril's life. By happenstance, Cyril meets Samantha, a hairdresser who agrees to become a foster parent just on the weekends. Cyril also befriends Wes, a no-good older kid who talks Cyril into robbing a newspaper carrier. I don't want to spoil the plot any further, you'll just have to see how it all plays out. But suffice to say that there were a number of scenes during which the theatre audience loudly gasped and moaned.

This movie is another outstanding "slice of life" as brought by the bothers Dardenne. No, there are no major "action" scenes or special effects. Just observing ordinary people in not always ordinary situations. Special mention must go to the young Belgian actor Thomas Doret, who is simply outstanding as Cyril, and also to Cecile de France (who, despite her last name, is also Belgian), in the role of Samantha. Incidentally, the movie was filmed in the Walloon city of Seraing (near Liege), where the brothers Dardenne hail from. "Le Gamin au Velo" made a major splash at the 2011 Cannes film festival, where it won the "Grand PRix". I can't help but notice that this is yet another strong movie from Belgium, on the heels of the Oscar-nominated "Bullhead". If you are in the mood for a good foreign movie, I readily recommend "Le Gamin au Velo".
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another solid Belgian movie May 14 2012
By Paul Allaer - Published on Amazon.com
The Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne directed an outstanding movie in 2005 called "The Child" ("L'enfant) which brought widespread critical and in French-speaking Europe also commercial acclaim. Now comes the latest movie from these guys.

"The Kid With a Bike" (Le Gamin au Velo) (2011 from Belgium; 87 min.) brings the story of 11 yr. old Cyril who lives in a youth center. Cyril cannot accept that his father seemingly has abandoned him, and in the first part of the movie we see Cyril trying to run away to find out where his dad is. It becomes clear that the dad indeed is no longer wanting to be involved in Cyril's life. By happenstance, Cyril meets Samantha, a hairdresser who agrees to become a foster parent just on the weekends. Cyril also befriends Wes, a no-good older kid who talks Cyril into robbing a newspaper carrier. I don't want to spoil the plot any further, you'll just have to see how it all plays out. But suffice to say that there were a number of scenes during which the theatre audience loudly gasped and moaned.

This movie is another outstanding "slice of life" as brought by the bothers Dardenne. No, there are no major "action" scenes or special effects. Just observing ordinary people in not always ordinary situations. Special mention must go to the young Belgian actor Thomas Doret, who is simply outstanding as Cyril, and also to Cecile de France (who, despite her last name, is also Belgian), in the role of Samantha. Incidentally, the movie was filmed in the Walloon city of Seraing (near Liege), where the brothers Dardenne hail from. "Le Gamin au Velo" made a major splash at the 2011 Cannes film festival, where it won the "Grand PRix". I can't help but notice that this is yet another strong movie from Belgium, on the heels of the Oscar-nominated "Bullhead". If you are in the mood for a good foreign movie, I readily recommend "Le Gamin au Velo".
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Belgian directors serve up astute psychological portrait of abandoned 10 year old despite contrived climax Jan. 24 2012
By Turfseer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Rating: 3.5

'The Kid with a Bike' was directed by the two French-speaking Dardenne brothers from Belgium. The film was shot in Belgium, in the town of Seraing, were the Dardennes held approximately 100 auditions and settled on an outstanding child actor neophyte, Thomas Doret, who plays the 10 year old protagonist, Cyril.

According to Wikipedia, the Dardenne brothers wanted to tell their story much like a fairy tale and chose not to develop many of the adult characters in the film. Hence, the portraits of the adults are quite sketchy. For example, we never find out much about Cyril's father except for the fact that he's broke and emotionally can't cope with the idea of taking care of a child. Similarly, Samantha, the hairdresser who adopts Cyril, doesn't have much of a back story and we mainly learn what she's about, vis-a-vis her relationship with the child.

While not without its problems, the film largely succeeds due to the performance of young Mr. Doret, in the role of Cyril. The film's scenarists make it quite clear how devastating it can be for a young child to be rejected by a parent. The first thirty minutes of the film chronicle Cyril's failed attempt to reunite with his father after he runs away from a youth facility which houses rejected children. Cyril won't accept that his father has moved out of the apartment and has abandoned him. Through his tenacity he tracks him down but the father won't be honest with his son that he has no intention of seeing him again. With Samantha's intervention, the father finally tells Cyril the truth. The reaction is predictable: self-destructive, acting out behavior on the part of the rejected child.

There's a great scene of a portent of things to come when Cyril begins banging his head inside the car and Samantha must stop him. Later, Cyril runs away from home, not before stabbing Samantha, who is at a loss how to handle the out of control child. Cyril eventually ends up in the hands of a criminal, a local drug addict, who teaches him how to rob people. Cyril actually ends up assaulting a father and son with a baseball bat and knocks them out cold. The criminal tells Cyril to get lost but gives him some proceeds from the robbery which Cyril promptly brings to his father with the plan to help him. The father doesn't want to get in trouble and throws the money away and tells Cyril to get lost.

Now having been rejected by his drug addict mentor, and a second time by his father, Cyril returns to Samantha and begs her forgiveness. But first he's forced to apologize to his victims in family court (the father accepts Cyril's apology but the son refuses to meet with the 10 year old). The court hearing is resolved when Samantha agrees to pay restitution to the father and son, for their medical treatment.

The main part of the plot that feels contrived is the climax where the younger victim of Cyril's assault chases Cyril into a forested area. The boy throws a rock at Cyril, striking him and causing him to fall to the ground after he climbed up a tree. At first, it appears that Cyril has been killed due to the fall but miraculously regains consciousness, and then stoically pedals away on his bike. My problem with that whole scene is that I couldn't believe that the father (the victim of Cyril's bat attack) wouldn't prevent his son from going after Cyril, especially with the full knowledge that the boy did not accept the younger Cyril's apology (by not showing up at the Family Court hearing) and was so angry at him, that there was the possibility that he might resort to violence.

In addition to the aforementioned sketchy characterizations, 'The Kid With a Bike' makes awkward use of a short passage from a Beethoven Piano Concerto whenever the directors seek to highlight an emotional scene. It's always the same, repetitious musical passage, which doesn't feel organically integrated into those particular scenes which require particular emotional emphasis.

'The Kid With a Bike' still manages to be fairly absorbing as the Dardenne brothers ably depict the psychology of a young boy, who goes through stages of grief due to the rejection by a parent. In this particular case, Samantha's love turns the boy in a positive direction and after all the angst, it's nice to experience the heart-felt, happy ending.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Man's Humanity to Man April 8 2012
By Jay B. Lane - Published on Amazon.com
"Le gamin au vélo," an unrated drama from Belgium (English subtitles), is about an eleven-year old boy, abandoned by his father at a local youth farm (orphanage). Nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globes, it is also winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes (2011), Best Screenwriter at the European Film Awards and Best Director at the Flaiano International Prizes. I noticed in particular how few cuts there were in each scene. Amazing! I will study this more closely when Amazon.com releases the Region 1 version on DVD.

We watch our determined young protagonist break away from his keepers and set out in quest of his absent father AND his missing bicycle. His quest crosses the path of a town hairdresser who, for some never-disclosed reason, offers to foster him on weekends; an act of kindness she quickly comes to regret. This boy is hurt, defiant, and rebellious. He is convinced his father would never leave him, nor would he take away his bike, so the only way for our little guy to learn this sad lesson is in a face-to-face confrontation.

This cast is excellent, these two leads in particular:
* Thomas Doret (impressive in his first role) is Cyril, frightened and bewildered by his father's selfish actions. This kid is always running, pedaling, climbing or fighting. At times he is so irritating I want to shake him!
* Cécile De France ("Avenue Montaigne") is Samantha, the ultra-patient hairdresser, willing to stand by our little rascal, even when he isn't very lovable. Physically, she is barely strong enough to cope with our wiry rebel.

As the story unfolds, we in the Seattle International Film Festival audience never move. We see things about other characters that our young hero is too immature to understand, so we hold our collective breath. We see that the good people are really good, while the bad people are equally bad, and we keep our fingers crossed for this confused youngster as he works his way through his pain.

As the film ends I feel good about Man's humanity to Man.
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