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The 35-hour work week has all of France in its thrall. This film turns it into a feature about economic and familial politics. Frank, a business school graduate, returns to his provincial hometown to take a management position in the factory where his father has been working for 30 years. First Frank makes the mistake of actually asking the workers on the assembly line for their opinions. Then upper management manipulates his findings to lay off employees. This creates a huge rift, not only between labor and management, but between father and son. A human morality tale that evokes paternal and filial love, and illustrates the personal risk behind political ideas. Written by
Despite the apparently 'dry' subject matter of conflict in the workplace, this is a passionate film. At times,the scenes are so realistic and so involved that you forget this is a film and are actually watching scenes from real people's lives (which is perhaps because many of the actors are no-professionals as in Bresson & Loach). The film does not provide any easy answers, only more questions. I found the scenes between the father & son very moving especially the one at the end where the father continues working at his lathe whilst the son first berates him for his failure to stand up for his rights and then hurls his father's work angrily onto the floor. A very compassionate film.
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