English Title: Two Days, One Night
Original Title: Deux jours, une nuit
Country: Belgium, France, Italy
Language: French, Arabic, English
Directors & Writers:
Cinematography: Alain Marcoen
Gianni La Rocca
Against their usual star-eschewing policy (although Cécile De France in THE KID WITH A BIKE 2011, is quite a bankable name, or at least in her motherland Belgium), Dardenne brothers has embraced one of the most internationally acclaimed and stylish francophone film star presently, Marion Cotillard, to their latest work, strips out all her outer glamour to Sandra, a working class cosmetics-free mother of two children, who has just recovered from a spell of depression, and has to fight for her job through a thorny vote imposed on her other 16 co-workers by their capitalistic superior, they can either vote for a 1000 euro bonus each person or keeping Sandra in the company. After a rigged vote, 13 to 3 for the bonus, Sandra and her friend Juliette (Salée) manage to a re-vote on Monday, so Sandra has a weekend to visit her colleges one by one, tries to change their mind and fix her future.
As uncompromising as always, Dardenne brothers’ lens intimately chronicles Sandra’s quasi-begging quest, various consequences occur, rejection, mortification, violence and compassion, the whole gamut from self-serving to altruism, the complexity of humanity has been consummately encapsulated in this unpleasant task coercively forced upon our heroin by her caring husband Manu (Rongione). Sandra is a pill-popping patient of severe depression, her self-worth is at the lowest point and Manu appears to be too pushy in the most of time, but unfortunately Sandra needs this exterior impetus to push her to face the reality check and furthermore motivate her to fight a righteous battle, there are setbacks galore en route, but Dardenne brothers set up a killing ending which not only rescues audience’s faith in humanity but more rewardingly brings Sandra back on her feet again, to overcome her enshrouding malady and extracts an uplifting thrill to this compelling modern tale which genuinely reflects the primal force bonds us together as a collective, and understatedly reprimands how the evil mind of the capitalism could lash its sickly pathological malice on to the defenceless employees, and viciously pitch them against each other out of extra dough.
Cotillard deservingly fetches her second Oscar nomination (after a triumphant upsetting win of BEST LEADING ACTRESS honour for LA VIE EN ROSE (2007), more impressively it is for another foreign picture, here, she maximally emanates her raw magnetism and realistic dynamism to play off with her consecutive encounters, to entreat with dignity, and intrepidly marks a tour-de-force rendition for admiration and applause. Rangione, a longtime collaborator with Dardennes, conceivably conjures up an engaging presence as the supportive husband, neither too showy nor too much of a plot device, in fact he is the real backbone of the nuclear family and the driving force throughout this trials and tribulations.
Dardennes brothers’ consistently unassuming style does make wonders, their camerawork has evolved to a more fluid existence, observing the mass with an nonjudgemental but shrewd stare, this film is a substantial testimony that they are not slowing down at all, and their canon is a tremendous treasure for all cinephiles to mull over.