François Durrieux, a man in his forties, married to Clémence and father of Benjamin, has been employed for years by the firm DSBO. In order not to lose his job, he always submits to his ... See full summary »
François Durrieux, a man in his forties, married to Clémence and father of Benjamin, has been employed for years by the firm DSBO. In order not to lose his job, he always submits to his boss's demands whether it means working after office hours, canceling planned holidays or harming his family life. However, when one night, Simon Lacaze, his best friend and colleague, commits suicide just after being fired ignominiously, François rebels... Written by
"Sauf le respect que je vous dois" starts like one of those recent socially-committed French movies ( such as "Ressources humaines", "Marie-Line", "Violence des échanges en milieu tempéré", "Le couperet" ...) that courageously examine the deterioration of today's working conditions and industrial relations.
Indeed, in a firm named DSBO and located in the West of France (but exemplifying a lot of others worldwide), you have no other choice but work hard, all too often after office hours, give up holidays, neglect your family or else ...
One of the employees, Simon Lacaze(Jean-Michel Portal), a reluctant, hypersensitive young man,bridles up, fighting desperately for a minimum of free time to be spent with his wife and friends, among whom François Durrieux (Olivier Gourmet). To no avail, as he ends up being fired by his boss (deceptively pleasant Jean-Marie Winling). And ignominiously so... Simon chooses to commit suicide in his office the very night a party is being given by his self-satisfied employer.
At this stage of the story, director Fabienne Godet and co-writer Franck Vassal could opt for a militant, feel good tone, having the characters gradually become aware of the situation they are in, go on strike to protest against the unfair treatment they are given and win their case. But the authors are not the optimistic kind and although they do believe that unity makes strength they know that unity is not easily achieved. Instead, they choose to describe François' righteous but lonely rebellion against the system. Too tortured, too awkward, too violent to involve his colleagues in an organized movement, he starts drifting alone, going round in circles, on a winding road leading nowhere.
The tone is bitter, mirroring the current situation in many a company today, not indulging in false hopes. Godet, whose first feature film this is, proves an able director. A first-rate cast helps: Gourmet, Blanc, Portal, Cotillard, Depardieu and young Jeffrey Barbeau give intense performances and make the film genuinely poignant and never goody-goody. A no-nonsense work that deserves to be seen.
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