La Promesse

Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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.
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Special Features

Conversations between film critic Scott Foundas and Filmmakers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne; New Interview piece featuring actors Jérémie Renier and Olivier Gourmet; Trailer; ; Plus: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Kent Jones
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Tom Wiener
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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/14/2012
  • UPC: 715515097314
  • Original Release: 1996
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound
  • Language: Français
  • Time: 1:34:00
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 317

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Assita Ouedraogo Assita
Rasmane Ouedraogo Amidou
Olivier Gourmet Roger
Jérémie Renier Igor
Technical Credits
Jean-Pierre Dardenne Director, Screenwriter
Luc Dardenne Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Jean-Marie Billy Score Composer, Songwriter
Hassen Daldoul Producer
Benoît Dervaux Cinematographer
Marie-Hélène Dozo Editor
Jean-Pierre Duret Sound/Sound Designer
Igor Gabriel Art Director, Production Designer
Denis M'Punga Score Composer, Songwriter
Alain Marcoen Camera Operator, Cinematographer
Monic Parelle Costumes/Costume Designer
Jacqueline Pierreux Associate Producer
Claude Waringo Associate Producer
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