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Manoel de Oliveira
Recently fired from his job, but unable to confess the truth to his close-knit family, Vincent spends his days driving around the countryside, talking into his cell phone and staring into space. Vincent fabricates a new job for himself so his family and friends will not know that he is out of work. At one point, he even sneaks into an office building. As Vincent roams the building's sterile halls, peeking into meeting rooms where men are busy at work, we see a man who yearns not just for a new job, but also for a place in the world. While this pantomime of work initially registers as sad and even a little pathetic, it slowly and unnervingly becomes terrifying.Written by
Sujit R. Varma
French screenwriter and director Laurent Cantet's second feature film which he co-wrote with his frequent collaborator Robin Campillo, is loosely based on the life story of French impostor and murderer Jean Claude-Romand. It tells the story about a middle-aged man named Vincent who lives in France with his wife named Muriel and their three children. Vincent is a busy man who spends most of his time on the road, on business trips and in meetings, but he hardly ever shares anything about his professional life with his wife who spends most of her time at home with her children. Vincent has recently lost his job, but instead of telling this to his family he invents a false story about being offered a new prestigious job in Genova. Vincent is determined to maintain a certain facade, but his betrayal begins to occupy his every breath and suddenly he finds himself deceiving not only his parents, his wife and his children, but also his closest friends.
French filmmaker Laurent Cantet's stylistically and precisely directed fictional tale about a man who in fear of losing face and letting his family down entangles himself in an increasing circle of lies which distances him furthermore from his loved ones, draws a realistic portrayal of a man living in a united and competitive society where the value of success and status apparently has more significance than humane values. This pervasive study of character which examines themes such as family relations, interpersonal relations, alienation, betrayal and love, is a finely paced and character-driven story with naturalistic milieu depictions, notable cinematography by the director's frequent collaborator and cinematographer Pierre Milon and with an effective score by British composer Jocelyn Pook which underlines the poignant atmosphere.
This throughout riveting independent film which was produced by Caroline Benjo who has produced most of Laurent Cantet's feature films, is brilliantly narrated and functions both as a psychological drama and a subtle thriller. An austere, gripping and detailed character drama with remarkable acting performances by French actor Aurélien Recoing and French actress Karin Viard which gained, among other awards, the Don Quixote Award at the 58th Venice Film Festival in 2001.
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