Agnes leaves school and moves into a council house in Bagnolet with her friend Florence. She take a job as an office clerk, and becomes a staff representative after a colleague is dismissed for resisting the advances of her lecherous superior...
As a protégé of New Wave giant Eric Rohmer, Jean-Claude Brisseau sought, from the very beginning of his career, to explore sociocultural issues in a head-on, unflinching manner that never shied away from sensitive or uncomfortable details. Brisseau's feature debut, the 1978 La vie comme ça, was shot on 16mm for French television and thus relies on a gritty, unpolished aesthetic.
Topically, it plunges into women's rights and labor concerns and thus anticipates the following year's Norma Rae, but incorporates none of that outing's soft-pedaling of issues or sentimentalizing. Maria-Luisa Garcia stars as Agnes Tessier, a young woman who leaves her school to work in a ghetto-set chemical factory with her girlfriend Florence; once there, she runs headfirst into such calamities as unsafe and unsanitary working conditions, sexual harassment, and nasty employers. Never one to take such indignities sitting down, Agnes signs on as the factory's chief union representative and vows to fight valiantly for improved conditions, exuding a level of unparalleled anger on behalf of the female working class.
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