Tori and Lokita

Director: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Year Released: 2022
Rating: 3.0

Sixteen-year-old Lokita (Mbundu Joely) lives in Liège with her "brother" Tori (Pablo Schils) - they're originally from Africa - and both of them try to balance going to school and making money (to send back home) by working as drug runners for scuzzy cook Betim (Alban Ukaj) but run into problems when Lokita (who has a panic disorder) can't obtain a work visa and is trapped in a marijuana plantation away from Tori.  There is a huge amount of grandfatherly empathy emanating from the Dardennes for this: their two leads face near-constant opposition (and discrimination) from virtually every direction, including the social workers, the police and even their "smugglers," who regularly shake them down for cash (and hide behind religion).  Few filmmakers are as gifted as they are at using non-actors effectively, and while it is a "message movie" about the hardships of immigrants in Europe it's also an important reminder that in many "civilized" parts of the world, child exploitation is taking place.  If that doesn't make you angry, I don't know what will.