Jean Pierre and Luc Dardenne won the Best Director at Cannes for their work in ‘Young Ahmed,’ a film about a young man brainwashed by his Immam to be a Muslim radical. This is an interesting film, and I have to admit it stressed me quite a bit. Perhaps that is a complement to the film? the character of Ahmed frustrated me, and Idir Ben Addi was good in making me believe in the character. The second half of the film finds Ahmed in jail after an attempted murder of his teacher (only because he thinks she is an apostate for teaching Arabic songs to children) and while he is still there you think he is rehabilitating himself but then you find out he is worse – even unrepentant about what he had done. Even though I was raised as a Catholic, nowadays I simply do not trust organized religion of any kind,and this just fuels my thought that extreme religious fanaticism can be very toxic. the Dardennes infuses the film with different factors: there’s an unrequited young love angle that they throw in to complicate things but eventually do not serve any purpose. And besides religion, I wish they had delved into how Ahmed gets to that point, as when the film starts he is already enamored by the Imman, Still, I thought this film provokes thought, and it certainly made me feel a lot of things.
There’s a lot of sex going on in Belgium. Or so it seems, based on Laurent Micheli’s ‘Even Lovers Get The Blues.” When a group of friends loses one of their own, things go haywire and a lot of bed-swapping goes on. Maybe I am dense, but I found there were a lot of characters in the film, and there was not much (any) exposition to these characters that I was confused a lot of the time about who is who among here. That’s why I really did not care much for any of these people, and when they had the inevitable showdown at the lake, nothing registered. I like some of the artsy elements in the film, but over all I was very much unmoved by it.