Tori and Lokita, a new masterpiece by the Dardenne brothers.

  • 31.05.2022

The rumor mill has been working since the screening of Tori and Lokita on the Croisette and the jury has not denied the predictions of the spectators. On Saturday, May 28, on the stage of the Grand Théâtre Lumière, the most famous brothers of Belgian cinema won a new distinction, the eighth official prize of their Cannes career, unprecedented and inevitably unique in the annals of the Festival, that of the 75th anniversary! This is already an achievement for this duo that has been lighting up the Official Selection at regular intervals for 23 years, almost a third of the history of the world’s most famous film event.


May 1999, a thunderclap on the Croisette: the Palme d’Or, awarded by a jury led by David Cronenberg, goes to a Belgian film. A promising young actress named Emilie Dequenne doubled the stakes with an interpretation award. Thanks to Rosetta, the world’s cameras are suddenly focused on Wallonia, a small region hitherto ignored by the greats of the 7th art.

This unexpected triumph acts as a detonator and a revelation: the Belgian authorities suddenly become aware that if we have talented directors, the regional industry is non-existent. To practice their profession, our artists must relocate, often to France. This observation led to the creation of Wallimage, which twenty-one years later continues to pursue its mission with success, as all the figures attest.

The history of the Walloon regional fund is thus intimately linked to the careers of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. Wallimage has thus co-financed the the following eight feature films by the duo with an enthusiasm all the more unalterable that their films, all shot in the Liège region, have largely contributed to the development of the regional industry by locating most of the activities related to the design, realization and finishing of their works in our company.

Celebrated worldwide by The brothers have presented a total of nine films in the Official Selection on the Croisette, winning eight awards from seven completely different juries. A unique feat in the history of cinema.

In 2002, The Son offered Olivier Gourmet an interpretation prize while The Child created a sensation by winning a second Palme d’Or in 2005. In 2008, Le Silence de Lorna was awarded for its audacious scenario, while in 2011 Le Gamin au Vélo won the Jury Prize. In 2014, Two Days and a Life received the Ecumenical Prize, an ancillary award given to a film in the official competition, designed to promote films of artistic quality that serve a message. After an exceptional off year in 2017 with La Fille Inconnue, the brothers return to success in 2019, bringing home the award for Best Director for Le Jeune Ahmed in Liège, a trophy that the film’s final scene, in the form of a master class, justifies on its own.

More harsh than their previous features, but still bathed in unwavering empathy, Tori and Lokita once again upset most festivalgoers this year. The message of the film is political and unambiguous: the bureaucratic inhumanity that we use as a shield is unacceptable in the face of the distress of migrants fleeing death and misery. A message distilled in the form of a cinematographic uppercut that spares no one and especially not the spectators who cannot avoid, at the end of the projection, a painful confrontation with their conscience.

This new distinction further reinforces the brothers’ status asicons of world cinema. We don’t necessarily realize here how lucky we are to have unique artists of the calibre of the Dardenne brothers who have influenced dozens of filmmakers across the continentsFrom Darren Aronovski and László Nemes Jele to Mohamed Ben Attia and Laura Wandel, whose next film will be co-produced by Les films du Fleuve. Whether we like it or not, the duo has revolutionized cinema by offering a new grammar, which is the prerogative of giants. He has also been a constant bearer of a free and progressive voice, indispensable in these troubled times.

Even if the Dardenne brothers’ journey is still far from over, we can be happy that Tori and Lokita is already considered by many as one of the peaks of their formidable career, proving that time has no hold on their talent, enthusiasm and convictions.

First of all, thank you for everything. And I can’t wait to see what happens next.


(Photo: Christine Plenus)