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At War

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France is angry. At least the French “yellow vests“ who have been spending months fighting for a a more just economic system with an increasing propensity for violence are. Stéphane Brizé‘s AT WAR premiered at last year‘s Cannes festival, a place that couldn‘t be further away from the Film's subject. Not geographically, since AT WAR is set in southwest France in the small town of Agen, but economically and ideologically. Brizé focuses on the worries and needs of workers who have become increasingly unimportant and devalued in global capitalism. Vincent Lindon plays experienced unionist Laurent Amédéo, who goes on the warpath in his fight against cuts. A few years ago the German owner of the car factory promised that all the positions would be secure, if the staff would forego any wage increases. But this promise has been broken, not because the factory was doing badly, but because the profits weren‘t high enough. Brizé stages this scenario in an almost documentary-like fashion, showing the workers fighting, some representatives wanting to compromises that others viewing it as lazy. There‘s almost no space for nuance here, the owner‘s decision isn‘t questioned here either, just like Amédéo‘s irreconcilable stance isn‘t. That might be too simple to some, but the anger, Vincent Lindon‘s powerful performance, turns AT WAR into a stirring manifesto for worker‘s rights, a film that hits the nail on the head of the Zeitgeist of some of France and Europe.

Michael Meyns

Translation: Elinor Lewy

Credits

Original title: En guerre
Frankreich 2018, 113 min
Genre: Drama
Director: Stéphane Brizé
Author: Stéphane Brizé, Olivier Gorce
DOP: Éric Dumont
Montage: Anne Klotz
Music: Bertrand Blessing
Distributor: Neue Visionen Filmverleih
Cast: Vincent Lindon, Mélanie Rover, Jacques Borderie, David Rey
FSK: 12
Release: 25.04.2019

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