Reality and Paternity in the Cinema of the Dardennes

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Isabella Guanzini


The Dardennes’ filmic production aims at restoring the missing link between human beings and the world that have been progressively undermined during the ultimate development of late-capitalist society. This contribution deals with their search for a new contact with reality and a concrete belief in the world, focusing on the theme of body and paternity, in the epoch of their evaporation. In order to rethink the paternal function in a post-political and post-ideological age, however, the Dardennes have had to radically come to terms with its ambiguity and oscillation between abandon and adoption, self-preservation and transmission, forgiveness and revenge. With regard to this ambivalence, this contribution focuses on The Promise and The Son, which represent significant descriptions of what (the body of) a father is capable of, suggesting, at the same time, interruption and filiation as possible experiences for a new beginning.

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GUANZINI, Isabella. Reality and Paternity in the Cinema of the Dardennes. Journal for Religion, Film and Media (JRFM), [S.l.], v. 2, n. 2, nov. 2016. ISSN 2414-0201. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 18 oct. 2017. doi:
Dardennes, belief, immanence, paternal function, interruption
Articles - CfP topic



DEUX JOURS, UNE NUIT (TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, BE/FR/IT 2014)
LE FILS (THE SON, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, BE/FR 2002)
L’ENFANT (THE CHILD, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, BE/FR 2005)
LA PROMESSE (THE PROMISE, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, BE/FR/LU/TN 1996)
LE GAMIN AU VÉLO (THE KID WITH A BIKE, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, FR/BE/IT 2011)
LE SILENCE DE LORNA (THE SILENCE OF LORNA, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, BE/FR/IT/DE 2008)
ROSETTA (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, FR/BE 1999)


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