"The Young Ahmed" of the Dardenne brothers, the Islamist radicalization of a teenager


Twice Palme d'Or, Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne are again in Cannes with "Le Jeune Ahmed" on the Islamist radicalization of a 13 year old teenager in Belgium.

After their two Palmes d'Or, Rosetta in 1999 and The Child in 2005, Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne vie for a third trophy with Young Ahmed, where a teenager acts under the influence of a radicalized imam in Belgium.

Ahmed, 13 years old, went from the game console to the Koran, under the dismayed eyes of his mother and his big sister, Muslim but not practicing. He is assiduous in the mosque where a radicalized imam pushes him on the path of extremism. Under his influence, he commits an act of violence that leads him to a re-education center. At first, refractory to supervision, to his mother's attempts to bring him to reason, and to an enterprising girl, Ahmed, seems gradually to soften. But is it real, or a trick to deceive his entourage?

Diaphana Distribution / YouTube

Faithful to their social theme, the Dardenne brothers often associate it with that of youth, as in Rosetta, The Child, or Bicycle kid. Intimately linked to adolescence, the pivotal stage of adult education, the process of Islamist radicalization observed in the West covers all social classes. It affects particularly individuals often brilliant in their studies. This is the case of Ahmed, from a single-parent family of middle class.

Belgian filmmakers approach it at the height of its Islamist training, ready to act. Having intellectual facilities, he spends little time studying. He thinks only of his five daily prayers preceded by ablutions, of learning Surahs, and when he is reframed, he keeps quoting verses from the Quran to justify himself. Ahmed is mature, he is part of "good Muslims": he is ready to act. Very good choice of the Dardenne brothers to take it at the time of this rocking, where the misinterpretation of a word can pass from the verb to the violence.

The poster of
The poster of "Young Ahmed" by Luc Dardenne and Jean-Pierre Dardenne (Diaphana Distribution)

Their demonstration is carried out according to the realistic aesthetic peculiar to their style. They prefer fiction to documentary, because it allows to write a case study, according to the staging that suits them. They have rarely been wrong. As usual, no frills or sleeve effects, still leading convincing non-professional actors, however, they lose a little emotion compared to their previous films. But their conviction in a pure cinema and their efficiency are always fly.

Kind : Drama
Director : Luc Dardenne and Jean-Pierre Dardenne
cast : Idir Ben Addi, Olivier Bonnaud, Myriem Akheddiou

Country : Belgium / France
duration : 1h24
Exit : May 22, 2019
Distributor : Diaphana Distribution
: In Belgium, the destiny of the young Ahmed, 13, caught between the radicalization of his imam and the calls of life.

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