Two Days, One Night

Two Days, One Night
Deux jours, une nuit poster.jpg
French theatrical release poster
Directed byLuc Dardenne
Jean-Pierre Dardenne
Produced by
  • Luc Dardenne
  • Jean-Pierre Dardenne
  • Denis Freyd
Written by
  • Luc Dardenne
  • Jean-Pierre Dardenne
Starring
CinematographyAlain Marcoen
Edited byMarie-Hélène Dozo
Production
companies
Distributed by
  • Cinéart (Belgium)
  • Diaphana Films (France)
  • BIM Distribuzione (Italy)
Release date
  • 20 May 2014 (2014-05-20) (Cannes)
  • 21 May 2014 (2014-05-21) (Belgium & France)
  • 13 November 2014 (2014-11-13) (Italy)
Running time
95 minutes[1]
Country
  • Belgium
  • France
  • Italy
Language
  • French
Budget7 million
Box office$9 million[2][3]

Two Days, One Night (French: Deux jours, une nuit) is a 2014 Belgian-French-Italian drama film written and directed by the Dardenne brothers, starring Marion Cotillard and Fabrizio Rongione.

It competed for the Palme d'Or in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.[4] It won the Sydney Film Prize at the 2014 Sydney Film Festival, was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language, nominated for two César Awards and for nine Magritte Awards, winning three, including Best Film and Best Director for Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. The film was selected as Belgium's submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards, but was not nominated, though Cotillard received a Best Actress nomination for her performance in the film, making her the first actor or actress to be nominated for a Belgian film.[5][6]

Plot

In Seraing, an industrial town near Liège, Belgium, young wife and mother Sandra prepares to return to work at Solwal, a small solar-panel factory, after a medical leave of absence for depression and anxiety. During her absence, Solwal management realises her colleagues are able to cover her shifts by working slightly longer hours and proposes a €1,000 bonus to each if they agree to make Sandra redundant. On Friday evening, after Sandra hears the news and that only two of the 16 voted for her to stay, she breaks down, feeling hopeless and worthless.

Her husband, Manu, tries to lift her spirits. A co-worker friend Juliette, who voted on her behalf, convinces her to talk to M. Dumont, the Solwal manager. Sandra is too petrified to speak, but Juliette argues her case. Juliette tells him some of the workers felt pressured to vote against Sandra by the factory foreman Jean-Marc, who insinuated one job must be eliminated. Though hesitant, Dumont agrees to a second, secret ballot early Monday.

Realising that her fate rests in the hands of her co-workers, Sandra must visit each of the 14 over the course of the weekend to persuade them to reject the monetary bonus, and she faces an uphill battle to keep her job before the crucial vote on Monday. Most of her co-workers are counting on the bonus for their own families. Some of her co-workers are immigrants and some are already working second jobs to get by; most react with sympathy, but a few with anger. Sandra is crushed when a co-worker she considered a friend pretends not to be home, but is heartened by the few who support her and say they will vote for her. Timur, an immigrant from Dagestan, breaks down in tears and says he is ashamed of himself, as Sandra covered for him when he broke a panel on his first day. He says he will change his mind and talk to another worker on her behalf.

On Sunday afternoon, Sandra discovers that Jean-Marc has been calling their co-workers to convince them not to change their votes, and that in reality he is against Sandra coming back because of her depression. She visits her co-worker Anne, whose husband rudely throws her out and screams at both women. Dejected, Sandra attempts suicide at home by overdosing on Xanax, but when Anne arrives to tell her she will vote for her, Sandra confesses to Manu, who forces her to vomit the pills up. Sandra recovers at the hospital and is touched when she finds out Anne came to the hospital too. Sandra tells Manu they will visit the remaining three that evening. When Anne tells her she has decided to leave her husband, Sandra invites her to their house to spend the night.

Sandra speaks to Alphonse, a young African immigrant who is working as a welder on contract. He will only get €150 because he is new, but he is afraid of Jean-Marc, who told him to vote against Sandra if he wants to get along with his co-workers. Alphonse tells her he wants to vote for her, but he's afraid Jean-Marc will find out and write him up for his mistakes, which could damage his chance of renewing his contract when it expires in September.

On Monday morning, as the Solwal workers vote again, Jean-Marc reacts angrily to Sandra. She stands up for herself and reminds him that he acted unfairly. In the second ballot, eight vote for her to keep the job, and eight vote to keep the bonus – not enough to overturn Friday's vote. She tearfully thanks those who voted for her, including Alphonse. She tells Anne she can stay at their house again that night and stoically clears out her locker.

However, Dumont calls her into his office and congratulates her on convincing so many to support her. He tells her he has decided to give everyone the bonus but still keep her on. Sandra's joy is short lived as he explains he will simply not renew a worker whose contract expires in September – Alphonse. Sandra politely declines his offer – she now has the confidence to start anew, and pursue a new life for herself. "We put up a good fight," she tells Manu proudly.

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