- Identify how the Dardenne brothers create a claustrophobic atmosphere in the film. What could be the reasons for such a visual style in this film?
- Why do you think there is no music in the film?
- Why do you think Olivier has an expressionless face in the film?
- Why do you think the camera always shows the back of Olivier’s head?
- Does the film feel like a documentary at times? If yes, when and why?
- What could Olivier’s eye-glasses represent in the film?
- What could Olivier’s leather belt represent in the film?
- Do you find Olivier’s injured back significant in the film? What could it represent?
- Consider the toilet scene and comment on the directors’ use of mirrors in their depiction of Olivier.
- What could be the effect(s) of the use of the hand-held camera on the story, on the characters, on the actors themselves and on the audience? Why is it so shaky at times?
- Comment on the final scene of the film. Why do you think the directors prefer not to have any words?
- What do you think about the title of the film? Who do you think “the son” refers to?
- Why do you think the directors choose “carpentry” in this film? Examine it as a metaphor.
- Why do you think the camera shows us Olivier washing his hands very often?
Suggested writing tasks:
- Identify and examine two of the strategies the directors use in their depiction of Olivier’s conscience.
- Examine in what ways this film could differ from a popular mainstream movie.
- To what extent would you call “The Son” a religious parable?
© Ali Nihat Eken, Istanbul, June 2008