The Dardenne brothers consistently make compelling dramas that win awards, from Rosetta (1999) to The Kid With a Bike (2011), and this drama might be their best yet. It takes a simple premise and twists it into a comment on the changing structure of global society, all while never losing the intensely personal perspective. It's never a statement film, but it says much more than movies that shout their messages loudly.
The central character is Sandra (Marion Cotillard), who has just returned to work after an emotional breakdown. Then she's left stunned when her boss (Baptiste Sornin) calls a vote on a Friday afternoon, and employees choose to make Sandra redundant so they can keep their €1,000 bonuses. Her friend Juliette (Catherine Salee) gets the boss to agree to re-run the vote on Monday by secret ballot, which gives Sandra the weekend to sway people to save her job, which she desperately needs to keep her family afloat. Her husband Manu (Fabrizio Rongione) accompanies her on this degrading task, begging her colleagues one by one to give up their cash for her. And it's almost more than she can bear. For every thrilling surge of compassion she feels, there's another worker who coldly refuses her pleas.
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne based the film on a real scenario, which is awful to imagine. Indeed, most of the film's characters express horror at the unfairness of the situation, but Sandra and Manu just have to get on with things in a matter-of-fact way that grounds the film in earthy emotion and, thankfully, wry humour. Cotillard gives another fully invested performances as a woman barely keeping a grip on herself, let alone finding the reserves needed to take care of her kids. She hides her true feelings from everyone as long as she can, and her main flaw seems to be an inability to see that she has a husband and colleagues who genuinely care about her. She's not facing this seemingly hopeless situation alone.
Continue reading: Two Days, One Night Review
‘Two Days, One Night’ (‘Deux Jours, Une Nuit’) has gained positive reviews from the world’s press following its premiere in Cannes yesterday (20th May).
Marion Cotillard has impressed critics with her performance in Two Days, One Night ‘Deux Jours, Une Nuit’ after the film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday (20th May).
Marion Cotillard shined as much in the film as at the premiere of Two Days, One Night.
The film centres on Sandra (Cotillard), a working class woman who, with the threat of unemployment looming, is forced to ask her colleagues to give up their bonuses so she can keep her job. Sandra is aided in her quest by her husband Manu, played by Un village français actor Fabrizio Rongione.
Cyril (Doret) is an angry tornado of a boy who lives in a care home with no idea where his father has moved. In a fit of desperation, he goes in search of his beloved bike, which is found by a neighbour, Samantha (De France). Her kindness strikes a chord with Cyril, and he starts visiting her for weekends.
She also helps him find his father (Renier), who can't cope with the responsibilities of fatherhood. But Cyril then turns to a local thug (Di Mateo), who teaches him how to rob a local businessman.
Continue reading: The Kid With A Bike Review
Rosetta, played by newcomer Emilie Dequenne, is a seventeen year-old adolescent suffering through a miserable life in Seraing, Belgium. She lives in a trailer park with an alcoholic mother who prostitutes herself for booze and food. Her home barely has running water and cannot even provide shelter from the cold wind. Despite her horrid circumstances, the film chronicles her incredible perseverance and strength as she attempts to get a job that will provide food and rent money for her desolate family to survive.
Continue reading: Rosetta Review
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'The Great Escape' was released on this day (September 11th) in 1995.