Foreign Film Monday: Two Days, One Night

Marion Cotillard is one of my favourite actresses, not only for her beauty and charisma, but her breadth and depth of subtlety when she tackles a role. Two Days, One Night (Deux Jours, Une Nuit) is a perfect example of this, and certainly is justified by her second Academy Award nomination. Set in a small, industrial Belgian town, Sandra (Cotillard), a young mother, has been told that her 16 colleagues opted to take a €1000 bonus rather than keep her on as a member of staff. The film focusses on Sandra meeting these employees, urging them to dismiss their potential bonus so she may keep her job, all the while struggling with her own depression.

Fabrizio Rongione equally gives a captivating performance as the try-hard but struggling husband. [image from Indiewire]
The premise doesn’t sound particularly inspired, but it’s an interesting film, especially culturally, which shows a broad spectrum of Belgian society – and moreover, an array of social classes, stratums and opinions. It gets a tad repetitive watching Cotillard go from person to person, but that shouldn’t be off-putting. Indeed, her complex and delicate performance is improved further by her Belgian accent, and even the wardrobe department, who have subtly complimented each character to their personality. For French learners this is a brilliant film to watch to improve your listening skills; it’s a way of hearing a different ‘type’ of French, and feels like a more ‘real’ portrayal of Belgium. This is the sort of film where you really get to understand the mentality and the people, which is always important for cultural studies.

Overall, It’s a simple, gripping, subtle film by the Belgian Dardenne brothers, and should not be looked over. Be sure to check it out on Netflix!

Do you agree? Feel free to post your own comments below!

This is the first blog entry for Foreign Film Monday, published every third Monday of the month. I’m always happy for you to message me film ideas! 

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