Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne are revered as masters of cinematic realism. Their films pose hard ethical questions and portray society’s marginalized with remarkable humanism. They began making documentaries in their twenties as a form of intervention during political turbulence in the ‘70s, even forming a video workshop called Collectif Dérive to encourage social solidarity. They later pivoted to narrative filmmaking, breaking out into international acclaim with La promesse (1996) and going on to win two Cannes Palme d’Ors for Rosetta (1999)—starring a young and mesmerizing Émilie Dequenne—and L’enfant (2005). In 2011 they won the Cannes Grand Prix award for The Kid with a Bike and they have persisted making powerful, radically minimal films that foreground the dispossessed.


Their latest Tori and Lokita, a thriller about two young African migrants struggling to survive in present-day Belgium, won the 75th Anniversary Prize at Cannes and is a New York Times Critic’s Pick. On the occasion of the film’s release, the brothers shared five films they love.

COMPARTMENT NO. 6, Juho Kuosmanen, 2021

A beautiful film similar in its substance to No Exit by Sartre, where two strangers discover the fundamentals of humanity. And all of that, within the interior of a train compartment, which is a formidable challenge of directing.

CARO DIARIO, Nanni Moretti, 1993

News from Italy; News from Europe. Through the journal of a filmmaker, where autobiography meets universality, with a healthy dose of humor.

DEKALOG, Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1989

Filming the choice of life as opposed to death. Magnificent directing founded on suspicion, secrets, and truth.

TAXI DRIVER, Martin Scorsese, 1976

The United States and the Vietnam War through Travis’ eyes sitting in his taxi looking through the window. We like Travis. His solitude, his despair, his violence and his dangerous desire to save the world.

POETRY, Lee Chang-dong, 2010

A great film, which revolves around the famous line from Dostoevsky “we are all guilty,…and I more than all others.” The extraordinary Yun Jeong-hie is magnificent as ever.