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 ... See full summary »
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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
Although the context for this film is the political tension surrounding the introduction of the 35 working week, the soul of the film lies in the relationship between father and son and its power to evoke folk memories of other, epic, generational struggles.This power comes not so much from what is said but from what is NOT said - looks, gestures, silences.This makes it sound as though the film is ponderous but it isn't: the context makes sure that there's plenty of action and there is a lightness of touch in the family scenes.The two struggles ( familial and political)are perfectly intertwined with each adding meaning to the other.The Human Resources of the title therefore refers not just the rather inhuman term for personnel management - but also to the resources which father and son find within themselves to cope with their respective situations.
There is a naturalness about the location, the setting and the pace that makes this film a refreshing change from Hollywood High Tech. It is well worth seeing.
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