Europe’s Mental Health Art and Culture Festival, First Fortnight Europe will bring the critically acclaimed, international success Two Days, One Night to Kilmallock on January 16th.
The film which stars Oscar winner Marion Cotillard explores the hard times and tough choices of Sandra, the depressed mother who faces being sacked from her minimum-wage job at a solar panel plant. Two Days, One Night charts the battle she wages for her job, her dignity and for humanity.
The film is directed by the darlings of European film, the Belgian Dardennes brothers who are lauded for their beautiful, uncompromising portrayals of real life.
As Xan Brooks of The Guardian wrote in his five-star review of the film:
“All credit to the Dardennes for finding an intimate tragedy that shouts so loud to the world beyond. The brothers take one woman’s tottering odyssey and give it the heft of a mythic struggle, like a low-rent labours of Hercules in which the original tasks are replaced by the locked door, the secret ballot and the bottle of Xanax on the bathroom shelf.”
PLEA FOR UNITY
The film centres on Sandra (Cotillard), who faces the hellish reality of redundancy unless she can persuade the majority of her 16 co-workers to forgo their annual bonuses of €1,000. Her’s is a plea for unity and compassion over personal gain, but her co-workers also have their own troubles, in the very real world of menial jobs and low pay.
‘A SENSE OF BELONGING’
Driving the film is the idea of validation through work, which was a precarious concept in at a time of widespread unemployment when the film was made in 2014.
“If you don’t have a job, you are made to feel like an outcast from your community,” one of its directors, Jean-Pierre Dardennes says. “Possibly in the future people will find another way to be part of the community that is not connected to work but for now that is where meaning lies. From an anthropological point of view, that is how mankind feels a sense of belonging.”
When the film was released, many viewers drew instant parallels with their own lives and the excruciating struggle of Sandra. Marion Cotillard, herself, revealed that this portrayal of struggle and the undercurrent of depression was not totally alien to her:
“I understand depression. I was never super-depressed, but at one point I thought it was coming. I’ve had many turning points in my life like that. I’m able to tell when I’m in a bad place or super-sad and move on. When you’re stuck somewhere you need to change something, to shift the energy.”
First Fortnight CEO David Keegan explains his reason for choosing this film:
“We feel that Two Days, One Night is a great choice to screen nationwide because it includes those universal themes of mental illness, community and the importance of validation in our lives. It’s not an Irish film, and yet it speaks so loudly to many of the issues that people have faced throughout the country in the last few years. It shows that regardless of where we’re from, or where we’re based, we all suffer – but more importantly that we can all help each other. I think that’s an important message to broadcast this year in First Fortnight Europe.”
COUNTY LIMERICK JAN 16th
The film will travel to 14 different venues nationwide as part of First Fortnight Europe and will visit Friars’ Gate Theatre in Kilmallock, Co Limerick on Wednesday, January 16th at 8pm.
Two Days, One Night is screened by First Fortnight in partnership with IFI National, Embassy of France in Ireland and Embassy of Belgium in Ireland.