Discussion Questions for Le Fils / The Son (Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne, 2002)

Discussion Questions for Le Fils / The Son (Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne, 2002)

  • 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

2 thoughts on “Discussion Questions for Le Fils / The Son (Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne, 2002)

  1. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

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