The feature directorial by Robin Pront about punk criminal brothers who teeter on the edge of a not-so legit life earned the country’s thumbs up this year as its Academy Awards contender beating out The Unknown Girl, the latest movie by the country’s perennial go-tos Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardennes. Many thought Unknown Girl was a given as Belgium’s entry since it premiered at Cannes.
Despite the Dardennes’ penchant for social issue topics in both Unknown Girl and 2014’s Two Days, One Night which earned Marion Cotillard a best actress nod, The Ardennes is an anomaly in that it’s a crime genre and as Pront explains here there aren’t many in the land known for Godiva chocolate and waffles. The film pays homage to everything from Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets to Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive, but at its core are human elements. One of the best tearjerking moments comes when the girlfriend (Veerle Baetens) to Kevin Janssens’ character Kenneth tearfully recalls her struggle to stay clean before her rehab group. Take a look above at our Q&A with Pront and Janssens at last night’s Awardsline screening.