Le gamin au vélo or as the title is translated in English, The Kid with a Bike, is a dramatic, Belgian film written and directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne in 2011. The story focuses on a young boy, who after being abandoned in a state-run youth farm by his father tries to readjust his place in the world. The only thing connecting him with his estranged father is his bike which is also his means towards maturity. The actor, Thomas Doret, is very convincing in his role, making the viewer sympathise and empathise with his struggles. After all, he is just a boy on the edge of teenage years who has lost his only parent and at the same time, the male-model that would help him through the difficult passing from childhood to teenage years.
The directors have beautifully captured this transition by showing how easily innocence can be lost when one is looking for a role-model. The focus is especially drawn upon the sensitivity that comes with childhood and the need for love and attention. Grown-ups may think sometimes that the child will forget something they did or said. The child desperate for love pretends not to understand what is going on, just to get the affection s/he needs. In their search for love children can easily become victims of some sort of love that actually depends not on sincere feelings but manipulation.
Generally, I have seen better movies concerning this theme but I need to say that the feelings I had after watching the film were optimistic ones.I do recommend watching it, especially if you want to improve your French listening skills, as the dialogues are pretty clear. Another element I particularly enjoyed was photography, with beautiful shots combining the red piece of clothing the child wears in almost every scene (probably a sign of “rebellion”, as teenage years are usually associated with this notion, especially when it comes to young boys) with the surroundings.
It is actually one of the films that makes you think of how lucky you are if you have a family that loves and supports you or what your role as a parent is/will be. But in the end, I think that the true essence is that everyone has opportunities and everyone can get out of tough situations, all s/he needs is some love and support.