LE JEUNE AHMED

Belgium, France 2019

Synopsis

In Belgium, today, the destiny of young Ahmed, 13, caught between his imam's ideals of purity and life's temptations.

Directors Statement

When we finished writing this screenplay, we realised that, in a way, we had written the story of the fruitless attempts made by various characters to dissuade the young fanatic Ahmed, our main character, from carrying out his murderous plan. Whoever these characters may be – his teacher Inès, his mother, his brother, his sister, his caseworker, the judge, the psychologist at the detention centre, his lawyer, the owners of the farm where he is placed, their daughter Louise – not one of them manages to reach the hard, mysterious core of this boy ready to kill his teacher in the name of his religious convictions. When we began writing, we never imagined that we were creating such an inscrutable character, capable of eluding us to such an extent, of leaving us without any possibility of a dramatic construction to catch up with him and bring him out of his murderous madness. Even Youssouf, the imam at the fundamentalist mosque, this magnetic figure who has harnessed the energy of the adolescent’s ideals to focus it on purity and hatred of impurity, even he, the master, is surprised by his disciple's determination. But could it be any different? Could it be any different when the fanatic is so young, almost a child, and when, moreover, his charismatic master encourages him to worship a martyred cousin, a dead man? How to halt the headlong rush towards murder of this fanatical boy, cut off as he is from the kindness of his educators, from the love of his mother, from the friendship and romantic games of young Louise? How can he be stopped in a moment when, without naïve optimism or an implausible happy ending, he could open up to life, converting to the impurity he has loathed until that point? What scene, what shots could allow us to film that transformation and could trouble the gaze of the audience that has entered Ahmed's night, as close as possible to that which possesses him, and to that from which he he would finally be delivered?

Director's Biography

Jean-Pierre Dardenne was born in Engis (Belgium) in April 1951.
Luc Dardenne was born in Awirs (Belgium) in March 1954.

Together they have directed numerous documentaries.
In 1975, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne founded the production company Dérives, which has produced more than eighty documentaries including their own.

In 1994, they founded the production company Les Films du Fleuve.

Filmography:
2019 - YOUNG AHMED
2016 - THE UNKNOWN GIRL
2014 - TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT
2011 - THE KID WITH A BIKE
2008 - LORNA'S SILENCE
2005 - THE CHILD
2002 - THE SON
1999 - ROSETTA
1996 - THE PROMISE
1992 - JE PENSE A VOUS
1987 - FALSCH
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Cast & Crew

Directed by: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne

Written by: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne

Produced by: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Denis Freyd

Cinematography: Benoît Dervaux

Editing: Marie-Hélène Dozo

Production Design: Igor Gabriel

Costume Design: Maïra Ramedhan-Levi

Hair & Make-up: Natali Tabareau-Vieuille

Sound: Jean-Pierre Duret, Valène Leroy, Thomas Gauder

Main Cast: Idir Ben Addi (Ahmed), Olivier Bonnaud (Caseworker), Myriem Akheddiou (Inès), Louise Bluck (Louise), Claire Bodson (The mother), Othmane Moumen (Imam Youssouf)

Nominations and Awards

  • EFA Feature Film Selection 2019