With Two Days, One Night, the Kitchen Stove Film series continues its tradition of bringing some of the best international films to the local cinema.
In the new film from master filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Sandra, a working classBelgian mother (Marion Cotillard — The Immigrant, Rust and Bone) loses her job but has a fighting chance — and one weekend — to get it back.
Almost immediately after returning to her factory job following a mental health leave, Sandra is laid off because her fellow workers voted to receive a bonus rather than keep her as the 17th person on the team. When she learns that their team leader persuaded them to vote against her under false pretences, Sandra convinces the plant manager to hold a second, secret vote.
It’s now Friday afternoon, leaving Sandra only two days and one night to save her job and, quite possibly, the life her family knows. Swallowing her pride, Sandra sets out with her loving husband (Fabrizio Rongione — The Kid With a Bike, Rosetta) to convince her sixteen co-workers, one by one, to vote in her favour.
Featuring cinematography by Alain Marcoen, Two Days, One Night is executed in what has become the Dardenne’s signature style, with the story’s events unfolding through long takes and hand-held shots, enveloping the viewer in Sandra’s world and putting a human face on Europe’s economic crisis.
Cotillard does subtle work as Sandra, always giving us a glimpse of what lies beneath. Despite the high stakes and mounting tension around Sandra’s situation, we’re reminded that — whether it’s enjoying an ice cream in the park, finding a killer song on the radio, or the simple act of listening to others — there’s much that can be accomplished, and savoured, in two days and one night.
Two Days, One Night has three showings at the Landmark 7 Cinema on April 16 at 1, 4 and 7 p.m. Kitchen Stove returns later this month, with the Argentinian comedy, Wild Tales, on April 30. Tickets are $13 in advance at the Penticton Art Gallery, The Book Shop on Main, or $15 at the door.
Kitchen Stove Film Festival got its start 17 years ago, when the Penticton Art Gallery was approached by the Toronto International Film Festival group, who wanted to expand the film circuit, moving to setup a system where smaller communities could have access to the world cinema.
The name Kitchen Stove was selected by the local organizers, who wanted a name that would stick in people’s memory, evocative and less mundane than simply Penticton International Film Festival.
They settled on “Kitchen Stove,” taken from filmmakers jargon, indicating a cutaway from the action to end a scene “cut to the kitchen stove” as fitting with their desire to make the festival unique, a cut away from normal, films that offer new perspective.