Another world: only the individual is saved

The cinema of Stefan Brezy, author of three films in seven years on the social inequalities that liberalism has produced, is always up to date despite the latest, Another worldIt hit theaters after the unimaginable economic emergency caused by the pandemic. By choosing to analyze, among other things, the question of the relationship between the quality and quantity of time each individual gives to his work and his private life, he has highlighted the inequalities that the pandemic has further accentuated: between those who can and those who cannot choose where and when to work, who can and who He cannot voluntarily choose the right time to stop. Again, Breezy chose Vincent Lyndon as the hero, but it has nothing to do with the other characters he played: the actor during the Venice Film Festival (where the film was in competition) objected to the use of the term “trilogy” for this very reason.

Stephen Breezy.

The director’s position is less strict, realizing that he has completed a trilogy backwards: each new film analyzes the causes of the events of the previous film, changing the names of characters and companies. at market law (2015), Lyndon an unemployed middle-aged man struggling to get back into the job market; When he succeeds, he is forced to become a partner in the ruthless labor management system of which he himself was a victim. The narrative arc begins when he is unemployed, succumbs to participate in useless training courses and accepts risky jobs; He is also exhausted from fighting his former company in court despite making sure it was profitable, so his surplus was not due to a crisis. What happens when the owners of a for-profit factory still decide to close it is a topic at war (2019), in which Lyndon is a unionist trying to save vulnerable jobs in every way, including politics and the information world, while maintaining a relentless stance always on the verge of legality.

The title of the third film comes directly from a scene in this film, in which the CEO of the fictitious German-owned company Perrin defends the option of closing the French factory during a fruitless negotiating table with social partners. “Denial of the present reality of this market is equivalent to wanting in another world, to live in another world”: this is how the manager presents his choices to his interlocutors as inevitable. A viewpoint so disregarded of the legitimate demands of workers called for further analysis: therefore, in Another worldLyndon transformed himself once again to play Philip Lemesel, who has been part of management for years and can provide perspective on facts complementing those of the characters in previous films.

The head of the French hardware factory belonging to an international group, Philippe is at a hierarchical level that places him in command of hundreds of people but also reports directly to the National Coordinator, who in turn must respond directly to the truth. President, American Cooper. He is not in a comfortable position: he has a position of great responsibility but does not have full decision-making power; He has a high salary but money and prestige are not enough to make his family happy. His wife Anne (Sandrine Kiberlin), for this money and prestige, agreed to give up her career, reluctantly accepting to see fewer and fewer of her husband even on weekends, but no longer accepting that he pollutes the family atmosphere due to the accumulated stress of work and then puffs air in the house.

Lucas (Anthony Pagon)’s son absorbs this inner negativity that causes him to have a troubling nervous breakdown. However, neither divorce papers nor hospitalization of the child in the clinic could distract Philip from the task assigned to him: to select 58 employees at his full discretion to be fired, and not less than one. He must have an exact number, because that is what is expected of him. But the plant is also expected not to lower the quality level despite the workforce being reduced by about 10%. He was given an illogical but binding mandate, exacerbated by the anxiety of having to choose who would spoil his life by denying him a job.

Announcing or signing layoffs is never the elusive and intangible market, but the people in the flesh. It is easier to direct the fight, just as it is easier to make the plot of the film convincing, if one can put a face to the “enemy” who blocks the path of the protagonists. But this time, the antagonist is the protagonist, so that it is clear that the one who takes responsibility for the organizational choices is not necessarily the promoter. Neither the workers nor the trade unionists have access to the secret meetings of management, therefore all management in their eyes are equally responsible: they cannot know that Philip is their best ally, they do not know the commitment he has made to find alternative and economically viable solutions to avoid layoffs, they ignore the work The hard work of persuasion he is willing to do at the highest levels.

The torment experienced by a manager is symmetric, not contradictory, with that of his employees. If Prezi’s films seem unfair, it is because they do not simply tell us about the problems of the free market, but its worst perversions: for this purpose, he chose the stories of workers from profitable and self-sufficient companies, which were either reorganized or closed to them. Pure speculation by shareholders. The real, invisible enemy is the search for a larger and concentrated profit in the hands of a few, without redistribution and without investments. It is impossible, for Philip who is aware of this, to bear it all without a sense of aversion to economic inequality caused by willful greed, from which he himself profited.

More than another world, Breeze’s characters will need another life not swallowed up by the doubts of the action. They will gladly accept the daily boredom of security about their future. At the recent Rotterdam International Film Festival, we saw an unusual example that seemed to be the exact opposite of the tense situations recreated by the French director: in plans By newcomer David Estelle, over the course of three hours, a camera mounted on the back seat of a car sequentially shows the first minutes of several trips of a middle-aged lawyer merging daily, always at 5 p.m., in suburban Melbourne traffic on its way home. Sometimes he listens to the radio, sometimes he calls the phone, sometimes he talks to a colleague who recommends him: in his boring daily routine, the passing of the months can only be perceived by the different light that illuminates his journey that is always the same.

Since there is no real plot, we are surprised by the small amount of information that can be collected to create a picture of any ordinary life: the protagonist does not experience any memorable or interesting adventure, but also does not suffer from any serious crisis . face to. This is what it means not to fear that market laws can rip the certainty of a safe working position: the benefit of prolonged monotony over time that comes so close to the goal of peaceful living. We do not directly see the face of the protagonist plans, whom we learn to know only through the eyes reflected in the rear-view mirror, the voice, the hands busy with command: he has the body language of a calm and complete man, and this is the opposite of Lyndon’s characters who are physically tested by struggles crushing them and little by little they also undermine his dialectical ability, which is less effective. In the multinational environment that Brize photographed, that kind of serenity is not only absent, but seemingly impossible, even when the last missing piece is reached: who really commands.

As already in the previous films, Prezi chose to combine a few professional actors (the three members of the Lemizl family) with non-professionals who enriched the characters with their experiences and real-life dialogues that during the heated discussions, we constantly pause and voices overlap. Cooper, the CEO of a multinational, only appears during a video conference that begins under Better Sponsorship but turns into a chilling lesson about power: He’s played by Jerry Hickey, his regular job being the company’s coach. As an expert on company culture and language, it probably wasn’t hard for him to make his character intimidating.

At first he has a rather casual appearance but never appears cute, in the words he completes but his facial expressions express hardness and contempt, he is never afraid to look at the camera when he has to express his positions (look on the contrary, Philip unable to continue), his pronouncements are permeated in a categorical manner with precise and well-thought-out words behind which he reveals more anger than disappointment; The purpose of the meeting is to reaffirm its role as the only decision maker that should not be questioned. However, shortly after reaffirming his blind faith in the rules of the market, he admitted that he also had a leader to answer: Wall Street. Another film may also be needed to investigate the causes of the top of the pyramid, which comfortably dismiss personal responsibilities by hiding behind an abstract entity, thus depriving peers of facing the enemy.

Suffering, anguish, indignation and anger that pertain to workers and reach managers, can also include managers or those identified as gentlemen? Sure enough, Brizzy, reinforced by the testimonies collected, wanted to show how high-level executives can suffer emotionally when they are forced to make ethical choices that are inconsistent with their values ​​and that the suffering does not only concern employees: but in conclusion, it does not put everyone in a difficult position. same level. Not only is Cooper, who remains an elusive figure far from satisfied, but his hypothetical “boss” Wall Street is an ally rather than a threat; Even Philip faces an unwelcome fate with adequate protection. Already in the first scene, where the terms of the divorce between the Lemesle couple are discussed, the assets of the family are listed: money does not make any of them happy but ensures that they have enough resources to arrive at the end of the month without fear, and the months to come.

The employees of factories that are closed or renovated may suffer emotional suffering to a degree similar to that of this manager, but they also fear the well-founded dangers of destitution. All of Lyndon’s characters in this trilogy make a painful nod to the final break: the only person who can come out with a little confidence in the future, perhaps even with a new calm, is Philip, because the previously accumulated money makes him a difference. It is a bitter defeat of the class struggle: we can only be saved as individuals, in a system in which the well-being of the individual does not depend on the well-being of the whole society.

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