Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

September 26, 2014

Two Days, One Night

Filed under: Film — louisproyect @ 12:38 pm

The Existential Crisis of Work


Yesterday I attended a press screening for “Two Days, One Night”, the latest Dardenne brothers movie that plays on October 5th and 6th at the New York Film Festival and that should open eventually at better theaters everywhere. The Belgians are blessed to have such talents at their disposal while we are stuck with the Coens.

“Two Days, One Night” refers to the time frame in which Sandra (Marion Cotillard) must convince a majority of her sixteen fellow workers to forgo a bonus of 1000 Euro so that she will be able to continue working at Solwal, a small solar panel manufacturer that is part of the new alternative energy sector that is the leading edge of a Third Industrial Revolution if you believe the hype. For the poorly paid and unorganized workers at SolWal, it is much more like the situation Engels described in “Conditions of the Working Class in England”, an 1844 work that was the first to describe a life of insecurity and want. Although the SolWal workers live in pleasant looking apartments or detached houses and drive around in recent model cars, every one of them tells Sandra the same tale of woe. They are counting on the bonus to pay doctor bills, rent, or other necessities, not to buy a Missoni suit or Manolo Blahnik shoes.


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1 Comment »

  1. Kudos to the Dardennes and to the Sydney festival that gave them the prize this year. I don’t remember another film that shows so well how the system has us at each other’s throat fighting over the bones it throws us. The Dardennes don’t gloss over the fact that most of her work mates refuse solidarity with their heroine. They show that such behavior is in the logic of the setup. The workers do drive good cars and live in pleasant looking homes, but what’s throbbing beneath the surface is the fear that this can’t last. And, in Europe anyway, it’s not lasting.

    Comment by Peter Byrne — September 28, 2014 @ 4:06 pm

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