• James Rutherford

'Two Days, One Night': A Compelling Belgian Drama about a Woman Desperate to Retain Her Factory Job


Two Days, One Night (Deux Jours, Une Nuit) (2014) is a highly compelling Belgian drama starring Marion Cotillard as Sandra, a young working class woman residing in the industrial town of Seraing, Belgium. Employed by a local solar panel manufacturer, Sandra has been forced to take a leave of absence from the workplace due to ongoing personal issues related to depression.


The storyline begins with Sandra completing her period of leave, eager to re-enter the workforce. However, in her absence, management has determined her position to be redundant—as long as her co-workers cover longer shifts. With an offer of sizable bonuses, her associates vote to remove her after being spurred on by foreman Jean-Marc (Olivier Gourmet). Once Sandra learns of this turn of affairs she confronts top executive Dumont (Baptiste Sornin) who agrees to a 2nd vote—leaving Sandra just 2 days to convince her colleagues to vote in her favor.


Written and directed by celebrated Belgian filmmaking brothers Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne (The Son, Young Ahmed), Two Days, One Night is an arresting tale of crisis and arduous negotiation. Cotillard is extraordinary as the increasingly distressed Sandra, whose tense confrontations with her disparate teammates provides the dramatic heart of the narrative. Enormously humanistic and strikingly provocative, it's a must-see vehicle for foreign-language social realism.

 

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