#57 in Best of the 21st Century?, a series counting down the most acclaimed films of the previous decade.

You’re about halfway through L’Enfant when you realize whom exactly the title refers to. Sonia (Déborah François) has just had a baby boy, and when the movie opens, she’s seeking the child’s father. He’s not at his apartment, which is occupied by a surly couple who slam the door in her face (a gesture that will be repeated throughout the film, although eventually she’s the one doing the slamming). When she finds him he’s on the street, wandering between cars stalled at a stop light, begging for change. Bruno (Jérémie Renier) is a scruffy young man, who could be anywhere from mid-twenties to early thirties. The indeterminacy of his age is telling; while his thick features suggest a manliness, his mop of hair, puppy-dog eyes, and perpetually mischievous grin suggest perpetual boyhood. Though Sonia is clearly his junior, she manages to mix a girlish playfulness (she’s constantly goofing around with Bruno, amidst shrieks of laughter) with a motherly concern for her new charge. Bruno, on the other hand, as soon as he’s left alone with the baby, tries to sell his own son.

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  1. Hey MovieMan. I haven't seen L'Enfant, but I want to congratulate you for the mention of The Dancing Image by Richard Brody (*The* Richard Brody), twice, and at The Auteurs. Great going there. A seminal blogpost too.

  2. JAFB, thanks for bringing that to my attention! Nice to hear, especially when the blogging is at a bit of a standstill. Oddly enough, I was just revisiting that one due to an e-mail exchange with a local movie buff/writer - it was a fun one to put together.