Two Days, One Night: Panel of Dardennes’ Rich and Impressive Career

The sibling team of Belgian directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have been making great features about the working class for nearly two decades.

Working steadily, with supreme control over their narrative and technical skills, they belong to small group of European filmmakers who qualify as genuine auteurs in every sense of the term. They seem incapable of directing movies that are not intelligent or emotionally touching.

In their latest feature, Two Days, One Night, the Dardennes team up with French and international film star Marion Cotillard to create a universal story about working-class people living on the edge of society.

Cotillard plays Sandra, a young married wife and mother who has just returned to work after recovering from a serious bout with depression. Realizing that the company can operate with one less employee, the management tells Sandra she is to be let go.

After learning that her co-workers will vote to decide her fate on Monday morning, Sandra races against time over the course of the weekend, often with the help of her husband, to convince each of her fellow employees to sacrifice their much-needed bonuses so that she can keep her job. With each encounter,

Unfolding as a series of encounters, the tale depicts a woman who is determined to regain control over her work but has not lost her sense of ethics and humanity.

In the course of two days, Sandra is brought into a different world with unexpected results. Though far from being preachy, two Days, One Night is a poignant and relevant moral fable for our times which, despite the socio-economic circumstances, succeeds in being upbeat with its double message of standing up for one’s rights as well as of the importance of community solidarity.