Two Days, One Night (2014)
|Year Of Production||2014|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The pride of Belgium-the Dardenne Brothers-specialise in small films focusing on the lives of the people at the fringes of society. The stories are usually slight however the impact on the lives of the subjects is significant.
The Dardenne Brothers usually work with unknown actors and was therefore a surprise when they turned up at the Cannes Film Festival with Two Days, One Night featuring French actress turned Hollywood star Marion Cotillard. The pairing was fruitful as Cotillard’s performance is quite stunning, well deserving a nomination for Best Actress at the recent Academy Awards.
Cotillard plays Sandra, a mother of two children living with her husband in the Belgian town of Seraing, where the Dardenne Brothers set their films. Although the circumstances and history are not made explicit it is clear that Sandra has been off work for some time due to depression issues and a breakdown. When the film begins she is ready to return to work, albeit anxious about doing so. However, in her absence, her employers at a small solar panel factory have realised that by requiring the remaining workers to do some overtime they have, in a slow market, been able to cover her absence. A vote is taken amongst the workers in Sandra’s absence. They can have a bonus of €1000 each if Sanda does not return to work. Sandra's best friend, Jeanette, takes her down to the factory to see the manager who reluctantly agrees to conduct another, secret, ballot to see whether the workers would still vote for their bonus. A loss of a job means Sandra and her family going back to council housing and a loss of pride. She has the two days and one night of the title to convince over half of the 16 workers to change their mind.
If this were a Hollywood film it would probably be laced with humour and pathos. The Dardenne’s have no time for such ideas. This is therefore a slightly relentless document showing Sandra going from house to house trying to convince the individual employees that they should change their mind. If it was a Hollywood film then there would have been a montage in the middle accompanied by emotive music, showing Sandra knocking at multiple doors. Instead we see each encounter. It is Sandra's task to get a majority of the 16 workers so we therefore see exchanges with 16 people. Far from annoyingly repetitive it allows us to examine each person and their motives.
Sandra's task is not an easy one. For a start she has to convince the workers to forego their bonus. The factory employs manual labourers and the film shows that these people are as desperate for their bonus as Sandra is for her job. Whilst most of the workers she visits are sympathetic, some of them are in an equal or worse financial position than her. Secondly, it is a very real question as to whether Sandra is actually ready to return to work. In this stressful situation she pops pills relentlessly and is often driven to continue only by the efforts of Jeanette and her long-suffering husband.
Two Days, One Night is probably not as successful a film as The Kid with a Bike. Nevertheless it is worth seeing at least for the performance of Marion Cotillard who has an edgy raw quality that is miles away from a showy actress performance.
Two Days, One Night was filmed on high definition digital video and comes to DVD in a 1.85:1 transfer consistent with the original cinema aspect ratio. It is 16×9 enhanced.
The DVD presents the film in the best light. It is clear and crisp throughout. The flesh tones are accurate and the level of detail is impressive. This is not a showy film by any means and the colours are fairly restrained.
Cotillard seems to spend the whole film in her pink tank top which is her defining colour.
There are two sets of subtitles in English - one white and the other yellow.
Two Days, One Night has a French language Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack running at 440Kb/s.
The film does not require any sonic fireworks. The dialogue is clear and easy to hear. The surround effects are used subtly and the subwoofer is fairly unnecessary.
There are a few songs thrown in for good measure including a French language version of Needles and Pins by Petula Clark. The film, like other Dardenne films, is without a score.
There are no technical defects with the sound transfer.
|Surround Channel Use|
This is the only DVD feature. It is not particularly illuminating perhaps because it was conducted in Cotillard’s second language, English, and she often struggles to express herself clearly. The first couple of minutes are frustrating as Cotillard can't express what she wants to say, perhaps due to humility, that she was surprised to be cast in the film because she is now a Hollywood actress.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
According to DVD Beaver the Region B Blu-ray release (not available locally) contains the following extras:
As DVD's go, buy locally.
Two Days, One Night is another strong addition to the slice of life films of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. The DVD is of good quality in both sound and vision terms.
|DVD||Cambridge Audio 752BD All Region Blu-ray, using HDMI output|
|Display||JVC DLX 700 with 4K e-shift on 140" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Pioneer SC -LX 78K 9.2 Channel|
|Speakers||Aaron ATS-5 7.1|