Saturday, 7 April 2012

Le Gamin au vélo (2011)

I rather enjoyed it.  Bleak though it may have been, I felt 'The Kid with a Bike' was poignant; it tugged on the heartstrings more than once.   

Cyril is 12, and life hasn't dealt him a brilliant hand.  He's in care, as his father has abandoned him.  We never get to know anything about his mother.  His primary relationship is with his beloved bicycle.  Which, at the beginning of the film, has also disappeared. 

We follow Cyril who runs away from the foster home in search of his father at his old apartment.  He is brought face to face with the undeniable reality of the empty apartment and it's unbearable.  The next morning, a stranger he encountered whilst trying to flee the children's home, turns up with his much missed bike.  She agrees to foster him at weekends, and a bond develops between these two formerly lost souls in this mutually satisfactory arrangement. 

Samantha helps Cyril to locate his father, whom he goes to meet only to be harshly rejected again.  Mercifully, Samantha is there for the heartbroken child who seems to do very little except ride his bike and pine for his Dad.  We watch Cyril get drawn towards unsavoury individuals, seeking to belong to any sort of family, and finding a place for himself within the Dealer's gang.  When it all goes wrong, Cyril is able to return to Samantha, who accepts and supports him to learn some important life lessons.  

It is an accessible and heartwarming story that touches on attachment, and parenthood.  It's certainly a brave film that doesn't seek to hide the themes of desperation and vulnerability. 

We are invited to accompany the title character whom we see to be constantly on the move: Cyril is forever running, either away from his reality as a would-be orphan lacking in direction and longing for love, or towards anything or anyone he believes will provide hope. 

The film is superbly unafraid of emotion, unafraid of plunging into two basic human ideas: the need for trust, and the search for love.    

Samantha:  "Don't be upset if it's not the way you dream it'll be..."

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