A painful WORKPLACE QUANDARY gets highlighted in the new Dardenne bros. film

“Two days, one night” centers on Sandra (Marion Cotillard), a factory employee who’s just returned to work after recovering from an illness. Upon realizing that the company can run with one less employee, management tells Sandra she is to be let go while the remaining employees will receive a bonus each. Talk about a dilemna. In this tenderly-observed and suspenseful drama the action is essential. Over the course of a weekend, Sandra, often with the help of her husband, races against the clock to convince each one of her fellow co-workers to sacrifice their much-needed bonuses in order for her to keep her job, a tough sell if there was ever one.

Each encounter brings Sandra into a different situation with unexpected results while her fate hangs in the balance. With “Two Days, One Night” the Dardennes have turned clichés about worker solidarity (this is socialist France, after all) on their head, delivering a film that is simple on the surface but which glistens with the cruel irony of the sometimes-pathetic human condition, that is, everyone for themselves.

“Two days, One night,” which is slated for release later this month is the first collaboration between Belgian filmmaker brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne and France’s Cotillard (“La vie en rose”).

Film had its world premiere, in competition, at the Cannes Film Festival, and played Telluride, Toronto, New York and AFI.

It will open theatrically on Wednesday, December 24th in New York City at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and IFC Center, with a national release to follow.

DID YOU KNOW? In an interview to Indiewire, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne stated that they were thinking about “12 Angry Men” (1957) when conceiving “Two Days, One Night”, because it’s a process of going to see people to try and change their minds. When asked about the similarities with “High Noon” (1952), they told that you could say that Marion Cotillard’s character is a little bit like Grace Kelly in the film, although they didn’t think about it while writing it [source: IMDB].

You can find “12 Angry Men” and “High Noon” in our ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF MUST-SEE FILMS index, available for download in the sidebar.

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