Belgium, France, 2002, 103'
A carpenter, who teaches in a rehabilitation centre for youth just released from jail, is faced with Francis, a boy who stole a car radio some time earlier and accidentally killed his five-year-old son. Between the two – a sonless father and a fatherless son – grows a confrontational relationship that won’t be easily resolved. The film could become a hunt and instead is the expression of one’s searching in vain for an answer to Evil. With an even more extreme use of the shoulder-supported camera than in Rosetta to convey the carpenter’s quest, the film relies on the painful performance of Gourmet (a Cannes award-winner) who, with his opaque gaze, his body and nape dominating the shots, reveals the impossibility of unravelling the mystery inherent in all human beings. Wondering whether to believe or not in the boy’s repentance, on the edge between acceptance and forgiveness, the father goes through the great philosophical questions, identified in the Christological figure of the carpenter, and willing to walk through modern Stations of the Cross in the ending. The most Dostoyevskian film of the two directors, in which the image becomes pure form of the ethical questioning.