I just watched Deux Jours, Une Nuit (Two Days, One Night) with a 2014 joint Belgian-French-Italian production starring Marion Cotillard (La vie en rose), who was nominated for an Academy Award for her role as Sandra, a Belgian working mother /wife who is faced with a simple and time sensitive challenge. Within two days, Sandra must reach her 16 co-workers and organize them for an important vote.
From the start we feel for Sandra and her pain realizing that after being off work for depression, management realizes they can be more competitive with one employee less which gives the remaining employees a bonus and three hours weekly overtime to compensate for abolishing Sandra’s position.
I keep vacillating between wanting to shout for the rights of people who have suffered mental illness and screaming in the faces of working class employees who are not showing their solidarity. It angers me, it frustrates me to see how management can entice people with money and scares them about their job safety.
And then there is the flip side where this woman, who has battled mental illness and feels like giving up but at the risk of allowing her colleagues to get their “promised” bonus she questions her rights and self-confidence starts to slip. Her husband continues to encourage her.
This movie is so real…we see the struggles and how families are all impacted by mental health and it warms my heart to see Sandra’s husband root for her, believe in her and encourage her. I keep thinking that if she does not get her job back, this is a human rights issue but then again, how many have the time and money to fight cases like this.
Management and some greedy employees threaten others to vote for a bonus which is the same as voting Sandra out of her job. A manager scared employees by saying if they did not vote Sandra out, they would lose their job. It is sad to see the “divide and conquer” approach and I can see how the company is trying to remain competitive but their tactics are so very wrong.
The movie hits many nerves…human rights, mental illness, human greed, abuse of power but mostly I was proud to see a show of integrity by some humans who know what is important in life.
The movie brought up old memories of a steel company where I worked and the employees voted for their raises which would lay off many employees…they were going through a rough patch and if everyone would have worked 4 days a week (and believe me, they had great salaries!) they could have weathered through that economic crisis.
They show working class as the targets of such issues and we all know it happens everywhere but in other places employees do not EVEN have a say. When some companies have to eliminate a few jobs during financial difficulties, they rehire new people a year or two later with just a new title for the same job. Meanwhile, do they know how it impacts on the people they let go? If a person is 20 or 30, it is tough but they will find something eventually but what happens to people over 50?!! We are seeing more and more of this and I find it sad…very sad.
To read more about this movie here is a link Deux Jours, Une Nuit (Two days, One night)