Le gamin au velo, Ritzy Picturehouse 7 April

****

I wouldn't let him near your bike if I were you...

The basis of this film is that young Cyril (an amazing performance by Thomas Doret) is in a children’s home after being abandoned by his father and hopes for some miracle to reunite them.  After running away to visit his father’s flat in the hope he will really be there, he ends up clinging on to Samantha (Cecile de France), the proprietor of a local hairdressing salon.  In an act of gratuitous goodness, she recovers his precious bicycle which serves as the symbol for all he has lost and takes him to stay with her at the weekends.

Well that’s what I like.  That’s what people are like.  Well maybe she wanted a kid anyway–He can hold onto me, but not so tight she says when he’s clinging on to her to resist being taken back to the home.  In fact, many of the actions in the film are presented without explicit motivation and you have to work it out just like in real life.

Can we say bike good:  car bad?  The bike is associated with Cyril and also with Samantha and in one idyllic scene Cyril allows Samantha to ride his bike, showing that she has now earned his love.  The car of the dealer Wesker surely represents everything undesirable, while Samantha’s car seems to be possessed by the (ex-)boyfriend Gilles except when it has the bike inside it.  Similarly city good: countryside bad, bad things happen in the waste land next to the estate where Cyril and Samantha live; but they include a kind of resurrection of course.  Not to mention women good:  men bad, but then Samantha is the only female character and really the only positive one as well.

Surely there was at least one plot hole:  Samantha tells Cyril to keep away from Wesker, who tries it on with all the new arrivals in the estate. But Cyril’s not new, he used to live there with his dad, that’s the whole point…

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