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TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE: THE FILMS OF JEAN-PIERRE AND LUC DARDENNE

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Deux jours, une nuit (Two Days, One Night), 2014, digital video, color, sound, 95 minutes. Sandra (Marion Cotillard) and coworkers.

ANDRÉ BAZIN’S acerbic comparison of film festivals to religious Orders—the capitalization is his—with their analogous rituals, moral obligations, and ceremonies, remains apt six decades after he first made it, in the pages of Cahiers du Cinéma. At Cannes, the festival largely the target of Bazin’s witty derision, the Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have, since the appearance of La promesse in the 1996 Directors’ Fortnight, joined the empyrean of directors who have won the Palme d’Or twice, and their films have taken on the aura of holy relics, so universally revered are their tales of crime and punishment, communion and redemption. (The word miracle figures frequently in critical writing on the Dardennes, whom J. Hoberman has called “worker-priests.”) Indeed, Bazin’s description of the festival’s cloistered environs—“a world where order, rigor, and

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