Last night I had the great pleasure of meeting two of my filmmaking heroes after seeing their latest film, The Kid with a Bike. I’ve admired and envied Jean-Pierre and LucDardenne for a long time and I wasn’t going to leave the Egyptian without thanking them for their films. No fucking way. Too many of my heroes are dead and I wasn’t going to let go of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; especially since it was their first time in Los Angeles.
I expected them to make a dash for the Official AFI Fest black limo so I darted out of my seat, pushed bodies out of my way and ran outside very much prepared to throw myself in their path. To my surprise, I didn’t have to make a fool out of myself because they stayed to chat with their fans and to pose for pictures. They are so down to earth and gracious and I can see how their work is a product of their character. Their generous disposition was also evident during the Q&A after the film. Most European auteurs get annoyed when asked to explain their films, but the Dardenne brothers were very enthusiastic to offer insight into their process. (I will post video of the talkback this weekend.)
When my turn came, I shook their hands and said “Je veux vous remercier pour vos films. Je suis réalisateur et je suis tres jalouse de votre travail. Je veux faire ce que vous faites.”* They laughed, thanked me and posed with me. They even checked my phone screen to make sure the photo was acceptable and asked, “Zitz Ohkae?” waiting for my approval. Of course, they are filmmakers.
The Kid with a Bike touched me on a very personal level about which I will write later. It was a great night.
*Translation: I want to thank you for your films. I’m a director and I’m very jealous of your work. I want to do what you do.