‘Another great film by De Dardennes’ reads the Volkskrant headline for Deux Jours, Une Nuit (Two Days, One Night) and the reviewer gave the film four stars. The Dardenne brothers are the big, distinctive talents in Belgian cinema. They make socially involved dramas without resorting to clichés. While they usually work with amateurs, they occasionally cast a professional actress in the leading role. As in this case, Marion Cotillard in phenomenal form.
Sandra (Cotillard), a young Belgian mother, works for a Wallonian company that makes solar panels. She is facing the prospect of redundancy. She can keep her job only if she can persuade all her colleagues to surrender their bonuses. She has exactly one weekend to achieve this. Her colleagues aren’t well off so she decides to visit them individually.
Her progress becomes an almost mythical journey. Without the glamour of heroic deeds, this is a modern Odyssey, a battle with the elements. Initially the obstacles are her 16 colleagues. Beyond them lie such monsters as the demise of permanent employment contracts, and globalisation in the labour market, which makes employees interchangeable. But you can also watch the film without looking for any hidden meaning. Deux Jours, Une Nuit is engaging enough thanks to the variety and the constant stream of surprises. Who will be behind the next front door, and how will he or she react to Sandra’s unusual request? It is precisely these human preoccupations that makes Deux Jours, Une Nuit such a strong film.