Monday, August 29, 2005

I watched Human Resources this weekend, which was an extraordinary movie. A young man, the son of a working class French family, has come home for a summer internship at the factory where his father works. His job is to prepare the factory for the 35-hour workweek, but he quickly runs up against a strident union representative. Drawing on a case history from college, he comes up with a survey that he hopes will cut through the rhetoric to get to the best solution, but his plan backfires and he learns by accident that the factory management has decided to use his survey to get rid of some workers, his father included. All of this leads to a great, messy, complicated conflict between him, his father, and the factory.

Mike Leigh wishes he had made this movie, but the truth is that Leigh doesn't have the deft touch to make class conflict into such a personal experience.


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