La promesse

La promesse is the breakthrough feature from Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, who would go on to become a force in world filmmaking. The brothers brought the unerring eye for detail and the compassion for those on society’s lowest rungs developed in their earlier documentary work to this absorbing drama about a teenager (Jérémie Renier) gradually coming to understand the implications of his father’s making a living through the exploitation of undocumented workers. Filmed in the Dardennes’ industrial hometown of Seraing, Belgium, La promesse is a brilliantly economical and observant tale of a boy’s troubled moral awakening.

Film Info

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Alain Marcoen, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
  • Conversation between film critic Scott Foundas and filmmakers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne
  • New interview piece featuring actors Jérémie Renier and Olivier Gourmet
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • Plus: A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Kent Jones

New cover by Eric Skillman

Purchase Options

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Alain Marcoen, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
  • Conversation between film critic Scott Foundas and filmmakers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne
  • New interview piece featuring actors Jérémie Renier and Olivier Gourmet
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • Plus: A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Kent Jones

New cover by Eric Skillman

La promesse
Cast
Jérémie Renier
Igor
Olivier Gourmet
Roger
Assita Ouédraogo
Assita
Rasmane Ouédraogo
Hamidou
Frédérique Bodson
Garage boss
Credits
Director
Luc Dardenne
Director
Jean-Pierre Dardenne
Produced by
Luc Dardenne
Produced by
Jean-Pierre Dardenne
Produced by
Hassen Daldoul
Produced by
Claude Waringo
Produced by
Jacqueline Perrieux
Screenplay
Luc Dardenne
Screenplay
Jean-Pierre Dardenne
Screenplay
Léon Michaux
Screenplay
Alphonse Badolo
Director of photography
Alain Marcoen
Camera operator
Benoît Dervaux
Sound recordists
Jean-Pierre Duret
Sound recordists
Michael Vionnet
Sound recordists
Pascal Metge
Editor
Marie-Hélène Dozo
Sound mixing
Thomas Gauder
Sound mixing
Philippe Baudhuin
Production design
Igor Gabriel
Set decorator
Françoise Joset
Wardrobe
Monic Parelle
Makeup
Tina Kopecka
Music
Jean-Marie Billy
Music
Denis M'Punga
Assistant director
Bernard Garant

From The Current

Connor Jessup’s Top 10

Canadian actor and filmmaker Connor Jessup’s third short film, Lira’s Forest, is an official selection at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.


Sep 11, 2017
Steve Gunn’s Top 10

Steve Gunn is regarded as one of the finest guitar players of our era. Eyes on the Lines, released last year on Matador Records, is his fourth full-length album.


May 11, 2017
La promesse in Los Angeles

Repertory Picks

La promesse in Los Angeles

On Sunday evening, as part of the monthlong series In Transit: Refugees on Film, the UCLA Film & Television Archive will screen a 35 mm print of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s La promesse (1996). Set in the filmmakers’ dreary industrial homet…

On Film / In Theaters
Apr 13, 2017
Meg Baird’s Top 10

Meg Baird is a founding member of the experimental folk collective Espers (Drag City). Her latest solo record, Don't Weigh Down the Light, is currently available through Drag City.


Mar 18, 2016
Acting for the Dardennes
Acting for the Dardennes

The idea that Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne have an uncanny ability to get right on top of the action in a scene without their camera’s ever feeling intrusive—to actors or viewers—is a common refrain in discussions of the Belgian directors’ e…


Aug 15, 2012
La promesse: One Plus One
La promesse: One Plus One

The Dardennes threw down the gauntlet for a new type of unadorned dramatic storytelling with their breakthrough tale of a working-class boy’s fraught coming-of-age.

By Kent Jones

On Film / Essays — Aug 14, 2012