It is an understatement to say that Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardennes, directors of Two Days and One Night, enjoy emeritus kiss-ass status at the Cannes Film Festival. After they finish a new movie, it (a) always plays in competition and (b) is almost always praised by kowtowing Cannes critics as being a quiet little masterpiece. The only negative thing you’re allowed to say about a Dardennes film is that it’s “minor,” as I said three years ago about The Kid With The Bike. I would go so far as to say the Dardennes are almost feared in a certain way. I’m not calling them the Sonny and Michael Corleone of Belgian directors, but if you mention their names a kind of hush falls over the room.
Two Days, One Night tells the story of a woman (Marion Cotillard) who together with her husband (Fabrizio Rongione?) tries to convince her colleagues to renounce their annual bonuses in order for her to keep her job.”
From my May 2011 review: “Jean Pierre and Luc Dardenne‘s The Kid With The Bike is being reflexively praised here and there because (a) it’s a low-key but entirely competent teenaged kid-desperate-for-paternal-support film, but (b) mainly because the Dardennes are highly respected big wheels within the Cannes journalistic community.
“If The Kid With The Bike had been made by an unknown younger director and shown under Un Certain Regard or Semaine des Critiques, positive reviews would result — it’s an honest, well-made film — but it wouldn’t cause much of a stir.
“Believe me, The Kid With The Bike is nothing to do mad cartwheels over. Yes, the Dardennes are first-rate scenarists and straight shooters; they know exactly what they’re doing every time. And their film ends well. But Cannes critics are, I feel, kneeling forward and kissing the proverbial ring. There’s nothing wrong with that in a general sense as long as there’s perspective.”