Synopsis by Elbert Ventura
French director Laurent Cantet's sophomore effort is a somber and complex meditation on work -- specifically, how work has become the defining feature of the contemporary individual as well as the quintessential symbol of quotidian despair. The movie tells the story of Vincent (Aurelien Recoing), a middle-class family man recently fired from his drab, middle-management job. Unable to tell his family about his firing, Vincent spends his workdays driving around the French countryside --"business trips" he tells his wife -- keeping intact the reassuring routine of going to work and coming home to his wife and kids. As his family grows suspicious of his evasive behavior, Vincent is forced to spin a new tale, pretending to get a job working for the U.N. In a bid to keep the money coming in, he recruits old friends to invest in an imaginary emerging-markets investment scheme. Vincent also falls in with Jean-Michel (Serge Livrozet), a black market dealer whose ignominious past serves as an ominous warning for Vincent's present course. Despite his efforts to maintain an undisturbed surface, Vincent's wife begins to suspect something amiss. As the lies pile up and the questions from his family mount, Vincent loses control of his fragile double life, leading to a poignant conclusion. Cantet's film premiered at the 2001 Venice Film Festival.
bourgeois, job, lies, pretending, white-collar, work [occupation], double-life, family
High Artistic Quality