Business student Franck (Lespert) returns home as a management trainee in the same factory as his father, a tool operator. Like Bruno Dumont's L'Humanité, this rousing and moving drama grandly (and ironically) invokes our peculiar species in its title, even as it's marked by an understated directorial style that minimises visual flourish and favours non-professional actors. But where Dumont applies a mysterious and distanced gaze, Cantet, for all his formal restraint, fashions a film of communicative intimacy, offering a fresh, relevant and challenging view of work, class and family. If the choice of milieu, a concrete industrial satellite of Paris which we first see through Franck's eyes as he journeys home by train, recalls '60s political Godard, so does the film's evolving class-consciousness. But whatever Cantet's political stance, his methods are dramatic, not didactic. His realism is based on acute, telling observation. The film has its faults. Franck's discovery of secret management plans lacks credibility; the skullduggery of the bosses is overdone; and the father is a little too bovine. But these are quibbles.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Laurent Cantet, Gilles Marchand|
Véronique de Pandelaère