The Dardenne brothers, Jean-Pierre and Luc, are among the most consistently masterful filmmakers in the world, chronicling the lives of underclass characters with formal rigor and heartrending compassion and insight. Their latest film, The Kid With A Bike, is no exception. Though the title nods to the Italian neo-realist classic Bicycle Thieves, the bike here is less a necessity for employment than the one thing connecting an abandoned boy to the joys and freedoms of childhood. Played beautifully by first-time actor Thomas Doret, 11-year-old Cyril lives under foster care, but searches restlessly for his lost bike and for the father who chose not to look after him. Cécile de France stars as Samantha, a single hairdresser who takes Cyril under her wing, despite his emotional volatility and his predilection for getting into trouble.

In this exclusive clip, Cyril has just been picked up after spending the day (and night) with a local street tough who has taken advantage of the boy’s need for a father figure. When the boy lies about turning off his cell phone, a conflict arises between Samantha and her boyfriend about how best to discipline the boy—and, more fundamentally, tests her level of devotion to both of them. The Kid With A Bike opens this Friday, March 16th at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and IFC Center in New York and The Landmark in Los Angeles.

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