Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne declared that when they finished writing this screenplay, they realised that, in a way, they had written the story of the fruitless attempts made by various characters to dissuade the young fanatic Ahmed, the main character, from carrying out his murderous plan. The Dardenne brothers won the Jade Jaguar award for Best Director at 2020 Jade Jaguar Cinema Festival with film LE JEUNE AHMED (Young Ahmed).
Whoever these characters may be – his teacher Inès, his mother, his brother, his sister, his caseworker, the judge, the psychologist at the detention centre, his lawyer, the owners of the farm where he is placed, their daughter Louise – not one of them manages to reach the hard, mysterious core of this boy ready to kill his teacher in the name of his religious convictions.
When we began writing, we never imagined that we were creating such an inscrutable character, capable of eluding us to such an extent, of leaving us without any possibility of a dramatic construction to catch up with him and bring him out of his murderous madness. Even Youssouf, the imam at the fundamentalist mosque, this magnetic figure who has harnessed the energy of the adolescent’s ideals to focus it on purity and hatred of impurity, even he, the master, is surprised by his disciple’s determination.
But could it be any different? Could it be any different when the fanatic is so young, almost a child, and when, moreover, his charismatic master encourages him to worship a martyred cousin, a dead man? How to halt the headlong rush towards murder of this fanatical boy, cut off as he is from the kindness of his educators, from the love of his mother, from the friendship and romantic games of young Louise? How can he be stopped in a moment when, without naïve optimism or an implausible happy ending, he could open up to life, converting to the impurity he has loathed until that point? What scene, what shots could allow us to film that transformation and could trouble the gaze of the audience that has entered Ahmed’s night, as close as possible to that which possesses him, and to that from which he he would finally be delivered?
Jean-Pierre Dardenne was born in Engis (Belgium) in April 1951.
Luc Dardenne was born in Awirs (Belgium) in March 1954. They began writing, producing and directing documentary and narrative films in the late 1970s.
Together they have directed numerous documentaries.
In 1975, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne founded the production company Dérives, which has produced more than eighty documentaries including their own.
In 1994, they founded the production company Les Films du Fleuve. They were thrust onto the international stage with The Promise (1996), which, among many other honors, nabbed the Best Foreign Film prize from both the L.A.
Film Critics Association and the National Society of Film Critics in the U.S. Their next film, Rosetta won the 1999 Palme d’Or at Cannes, and The Child garnered a second in 2005, making them members of a very elite club of just eight directors who have walked away with Cannes’ highest honor twice. In addition, Lorna’s Silence (2008) won the Best Screenplay Award, The Kid with a Bike (2011) won the Grand Prix, and Young Ahmed (2019) snagged this year’s Best Director Award at Cannes.
Over the years, they have been nominated for seven César Awards and one BAFTA. At 2020 Jade Jaguar Cinema Festival they won the Jade Jaguar award for Best Director with film LE JEUNE AHMED (Young Ahmed).
2019 – YOUNG AHMED
2016 – THE UNKNOWN GIRL
2014 – TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT
2011 – THE KID WITH A BIKE
2008 – LORNA’S SILENCE
2005 – THE CHILD
2002 – THE SON
1999 – ROSETTA
1996 – THE PROMISE
1992 – JE PENSE A VOUS
1987 – FALSCH