Luc Dardenne

With his brother Jean-Pierre, Belgian filmmaker Luc Dardenne co-wrote and co-directed a string of critically acclaimed, award-winning dramas that concerned the struggles of everyday people under tremendous duress, including "Rosetta" (1999), "The Kid with a Bike" (2011) and "Two Days, One Night" (2014). Born March 10, 1954 in Liège, Belgium, Luc Dardenne was exposed to labor issues at an early age through strikes conducted by local steel workers that frequently brought his town to a halt. He initially considered philosophy as his main pursuit, but eventually became involved in drama through the playwright Armand Gatti, with whom his elder brother, Jean-Pierre, was studying drama. Both brothers became intrigued by the idea of using film and video for art and politically themed projects. They launched their own production company, Dèrives, in 1975, and released a series of documentaries for television that concerned Belgian activism. Films like "Le Chant du Rossignol" (1978) and "Pour que la guerre s'achève, les murs devaient s'écrouter" (1980), examined the Belgian Resistance movement during World War II and labor strikes in the Dardennes' home town in 1960, respectively, and established the brothers as important new documentary filmmakers. In the mid-1980s, the Dardennes tackled dramatic filmmaking, though their initial efforts, an adaptation of the avant-garde play "Falsch" (1987) and "Je pense à vous" (1992), were seen largely by art house audiences. In 1994, the Dardennes found international success with their third feature, "La Promesse" (1996), a major international hit which integrated the social concerns of their documentary efforts with a stark dramatic premise about a teenager whose loyalties are divided between his corrupt father and the illegal immigrants he employed. Their next feature, "Rosetta" (1999), won both the Palme d'Or and Best Actress for newcomer Émilie Dequenne's turn as a volatile young woman trying to better herself through menial jobs. The Dardennes continued to mine dark, often difficult material in their subsequent films. In "Le fils" (2002), a grieving father develops paternal feelings for the disadvantaged young man who murdered his son, while "L'Enfant" (2005) brought the brothers a second Palme d'Or for its story of a drug dealer whose life is upended after he sells his newborn son on the black market. In 2011, they took a step away from their vérité aesthetic for "The Kid with a Bike," a drama about the relationship between an abandoned boy and a tough but caring woman who briefly becomes his protector. It became the Dardennes' first film to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, as well as the recipient of the Cannes Film Festival's Grand Prix Award. Three years later, they returned to Cannes with "Two Days, One Night" (2014), with Marion Cotillard as a woman who must convince her coworkers to give up their bonuses in order to save her job.