Franck (Jalil Lespert) is an enthusiastic business student in Paris who returns to his hometown to do an internship at the factory where his father works. The only problem is he’s expected to be involved in a restructuring process, which means laying off jobs — including his dad’s.
Laurent Time Out Cantet’s film welds together crisis of conscience with rites of passage to arrive at a fine examination of class conflict within one family. As Franck tells his father that, thanks to him, dad will be retired rather than laid off, he does so to make his father understand it’s no longer about the workers taking on the bosses, but the dissolution of the class structure as the younger generation become insiders. But is he right, or is Franck’s deluded? There may be something facile about politics being microcosmically explored through one family, and it may lack the visual eeriness and precision of Cantet’s later work (this film was made in 1999), but this is still skilfully achieved filmmaking. Extras include Cantet’s featurette Les Sanguinares