By Mónica Delgado
Unlike other Dardenne brothers’ films, Marion Cotillard’s charácter becomes the essential piece, the engine, the soul, the life of Two Days, One Night. If in their previous films all the characters articulate themselves in a sort of social micro cosmos, here the variation is different. The Dardenne exploit a more intimate or psychological vein, where the social field, if eventually the trigger (the work crisis, the unemployment, the lack of social assistance, among others) here tends lags a little bit to leave a dialectics of culpability of the «system» for a more throughout fixation, taking the extremely depressive character of Sandra, embodied by Cotillard.
Sandra has only a weekend to convince ten workmates to quit an assistance bond of a thousand euros, so she can keep the job. It wasn’t an easy task, since everyone live in the same situation. Is beyond saying that with Sandra, Cotillard shows her best role, fragile, lost, in the verge of tears towards any motivation. And the idea of the plot of the Dardenne doesn’t stop to be cruel, submitting their character to a series of searches in regressive and suspenseful plan, betting for tension and for the inevitable debacle (as in all their films).
In Two Days, One Night, the Dardenne have quit being the anxious admirers of Bressonian themes and style, to execute a simple drama, with shots and counter-shots or the camera that follows the lead character but without much ambition (specially if we remember the style that they set with Rossetta or The Son) and that in this film stops being necessary, since they are hunting for the reactions of a character about to quit. Camera then, is at the service of Cotillard, who we see crossing the street, knocking doors, coming down from the car. Even in the scenes that gives us a break (like the songs in the car with the husband or friend) the camera is there, almost behind her, gazing her smiles or looks (but never in a frontal way).
There’s no losing in the films of the Dardenne brothers, since they posses a minimal and accurate level, direct, without ambivalence. And with this portrait of a woman in the verge of a nervous breakdown, they become exposed to the confirmation of their fame.
Written and Directed by: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne
Editing: Marie-Hélene Dozo
Producers: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Denis Freyd
Cast: Marion Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongione, Pili Gropyne, Simon Caudry