Two Days, One Night (Deux jours, une nuit) – France, 2014
UK Release by Artificial Eye – 22nd August, 2014
Directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Brief synopsis: When Sandra discovers that her work colleagues, amidst her own suspension for depression, have opted for a pay rise in exchange for her not coming back, she desperately tries to persuade each and everyone of them to do the moral thing.
This film reveals a mastery of craft from The Dardenne Brothers. It is social realism at its best, it is cinema at its purest and most endearing and it is an Oscar-worthy performance from Marion Cotillard as Sandra.
You will live and breathe alongside Sandra as she encounters a most delicate battle of morality and justice. You will feel her pain, her hope and her despair as you collide along her path. The dynamic of human life and relationships is prolifically explored and yet devised with such simplicity that the paradox is one of beauty. The audience is left to discover as Marion does, there is no confusion here, we must go on her journey and witness the selfish and the kind. In its purest form, it is good versus evil and the answer is half by half.
The camera lingers on Marion as we go with her side by side; when a picture is well crafted, camera and facial expression is all it takes to convey a world of feelings. So, it is here, as the camera is moved in close with Marion during moments of despair and it never fails to catch the slightest nuance in her expression. It never lets her escape for we are always there in her every moment. A tension created by meticulous precision in displaying the landscape between scenes and keeping every moment one of urgency for Sandra and, thus, the audience. Certainly, this is an anxiety inducing picture and one of sheer artistic brilliance.