Two Days, One Night – The Criterion Collection #771 (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
August 22, 2015 by Dennis Amith
There is a reason why “Two Days, One Night” has received international critical acclaim. It’s another Dardenne brothers film that inspires hope, that showcases humanity (the good and bad), raw and real emotion but most of all, made believable thanks to Marion Cotillard’s performance which was absolutely outstanding. Highly recommended!
Image courtesy of © 1973 by Les Films du Fleuve – Archipel 35 – Bim Distribuzione. 2015 The Criterion Collection. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Two Days, One Night – The Criterion Collection #771
YEAR OF FILM: 2014
DURATION: 95 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Color, 1:85:1, French DTS-HD MA, Subtitles: English SDH
COMPANY: Sundance Selects/THE CRITERION COLLECTION
RELEASE DATE: August 25, 2015
Directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Written by Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Produced by Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Denis Freyd
Executive Producer: Delphine Tomson
Associate Producer: Arlette Zylberberg
Co-Producer: Peter Bouckaert, Valerio De Paolis
Cinematography by Alain Marcoen
Edited by Marie-Helene Dozo
Production Design by Igor Gabirel
Costume Design by Maira Ramedhan Levi
Marion Cotillard as Sandra
Fabrizio Rongione as Manu
Catherine Salee as Juliette
Batiste Sornin as M. Dumont
Pili Groyne as Estelle
Simon Caudry as Maxime
Lara Persain as Femme de Willy
Alain Eloy as Willy
Myriem Akeddiou as Mireiile
Fabienne Sciascia as Nadine
Anette Niro as Nanna
Rania Mellouli as Fille Timur
Oscar winner Marion Cotillard received another nomination for her searing, deeply felt performance as a working-class woman desperate to hold on to her factory job, in this gripping film from master Belgian directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. Cotillard is Sandra, a wife and mother who suffers from depression and discovers that, while she was home on sick leave, a majority of her coworkers voted in favor of her being laid off over giving up their annual bonuses. She then spends a Saturday and Sunday visiting them each in turn, to try to convince them to change their minds. From this simple premise, the Dardennes create a powerfully humane drama about the importance of community in an increasingly impersonal world.
The Dardenne brothers, Jean-Pierre and Luc are known for their thought provoking, award winning films such as “l’enfant”, “Rosetta”, “Le fils” and “Le silence de Lorna”, would release another highly-praised film in 2014 titled “Deux jours, une nuit” (Two Days, One Night).
Starring Marion Cottilard (“Rust and Bone”, “La Vie en Rose”, “Inception”, “The Dark Knight Rises”) and Fabrizio Rongione (“The Kid and a Bike”, “Rosetta”, “l’enfant”), the film would be nominated and win a plethora of awards. The film would earn Marion Cotillard a “Best Actress” nomination at the 87th Academy Awards.
Cotillard’s performance captivated audiences that she earned a 15-minute standing ovation at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.
The film would receive praise by film critics all over the world and now, “Two Days, One Night” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of the Criterion Collection.
“Two Days, One Night” is set in the industrial town of Seraing in Liege, Belgium. Sandra bya (portrayed by Marion Cotillard) is a young wife and mother of two and the family’s dependent on her job at a solar-panel factory.
But due to suffering a nervous breakdown and is out on medical leave, the higher ups learn that the employees have been able to cover her shift by working longer hours. And that 16 people can do the job.
So, the boss offers them a 1,000 euro (equivalent to $1,138 US) bonus to all the staff if they can continue this work and in the process, eliminating Sandra’s position.
Sandra who is not strong enough to deal with this, is devastated. Her husband Manu (portrayed by Fabrizio Rongione) is worried because his pay is not enough to take care of the family and would like her to fight for her job.
When Sandra receives word from her friend/co-worker Juliette (portrayed by Catherine Salee) to talk to her boss M. Dumont (portrayed by Batiste Sornin) about having another vote due to another employee trying to cajole others to vote against her, he agrees to do a secret vote on Monday morning.
So, Sandra has two days and one night to persuade 16 of her co-workers to reject the monetary bonus and vote to save her job.
But at her weakened state and depression, can she persuade them?
“Two Days, One Night – The Criterion Collection #771” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 aspect ratio). The film looks fantastic in HD. Details of closeups are amazing, shot outdoors, the colors are vibrant. There are no signs of DNR or any issues at all, “Two Days, One Night” looks magnificent on Blu-ray!
According to the Criterion Collection, “This film was shot with an ARRI ALEXA digital camera, and the entire production was completed in a fully digital workflow. Supervised by director of photography Alain Marcoen and approved by directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, the final color-corrected DPX files were output to Rec. 709 high-definition color space for Blu-ray and DVD.”
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
As for the lossless audio, “Two Days, One Night – The Criterion Collection #771”. The film is presented in French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 with optional English subtitles. The film is primarily dialogue and environment-based. There is no musical score but there are times when the characters would crank up the music in the car. But for the most part, dialogue and ambiance is crystal clear and the lossless audio is center/front-channel driven.
According to the Criterion Collection, “This film features a fully digital soundtrack. The 5.1 surround audio for this release was mastered at 24-bit from the original digital audio master files using Pro Tools HD”.
“Two Days, One Night – The Criterion Collection #771” comes with the following special features:
- Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne – (51:05) An interview conducted by the Criterion Collection with Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne in April 2015.
- Marion Cotillard and Fabrizio Rongione – (22:20) An interview conducted by the Criterion Collection with Marion Cotillard and Fabrizio Rongione in early 2015.
- On Location – (36:48) The Criterion Collection and Dardenne brothers return to four locations of where “Two Days, One Night” were shot and demonstrate their approach during the shoot.
- When Leon M.’s Boat Went Down the Meuse for the First Time – (38:18) A 1979 documentary by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne investigating a general strike that paralyzed Belgium during the winter of 1960.
- The Dardennes on Leon M.’s Boat – (20:45) Featuring an interview with the Dardenne brothers about their documentary and its impact on their later fiction filmmaking.
- To Be an I – (8:32) A video essay by critic Kent Jones on the central theme that pervades Dardenne brothers films.
- Trailer – Theatrical trailer for “Two Days, One Night”.
“Two Days, One Night – The Criterion Collection #771” comes with a five-page fold-out insert with the essay “Economics in Emotion” by Girish Shambu.
For those who have watched a Dardenne brothers film, there is always a recurring theme of hope, especially when it seems life is leading one to a direction of despair or uncertainty.
“Two Days, One Night” is a film that was written by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne after coming across the book of case studies edited by sociologist Pierre Bourdieu called “The Weight of the World: Social Suffering in Contemporary Society”.
One of the studies was in regards to a worker fired by management after having consent by all workers. And then later discovering how this pattern has taken place throughout Europe.
For their film, “Two Days, One Night”, the film is about one woman’s self-discovery and trying to overcome her depression and fears as she must go to 16 of her co-workers and convince each of them to forego their 1,000 euro monetary bonus in order to keep her job from being eliminated.
As one can expect especially with the economic crisis all over the world, times are tough not just for Sandra but each of her co-workers, where that money would be useful for their families but for those who have been helped and have a good working relationship with Sandra, conflicted about their choices of saving their co-worker or taking the money.
The film may be all to real for many viewers who have suffered lay offs but what makes “Two Days, One Night” work effectively is thanks to the magnificent performance of actress Marion Cotillard.
Award winning actress Marion Cotillard is already known for her amazing work in “La Vie en Rose”, “A Very Long Engagement”, “The Immigrant” to name a few but to sell this role, the compleat Cotillard was able to make us feel that her character, Sandra was suffering, was having difficult going to each co-worker, in front of their families, asking them to turn down the bonus.
The efficacy of this entire film no doubt rested on the shoulders of Cotillard and not only did she deliver, she embraced the character and transformed into this character. Every review that marveled on Cotillard’s performance is right on point.
The story of the film is intelligent yet simplistic, her performance, her reactions, watching her go through this emotional phase from beginning to end is what matters most in this film because it captures the heartache of anyone who is trying to survive in today’s modern world, the fear of losing one’s job that would take care of the family is frightening. She must fight to save her job and persuading co-workers to turn down their bonus is not an easy task. She knows it, but she has to do it…for her and her family’s sake.
The Blu-ray release looks magnificent as one can expect a film shot on a ARRI ALEXA digital camera. Details are fantastic, colors are vibrant and videophiles will no doubt enjoy the picture quality of the film. Lossless soundtrack is primarily dialogue and ambiance. There is no musical score, it’s all about communication and dialogue and ambiance are crystal clear.
As for the special features, there are wonderful interviews included in this Criterion Collection release, especially learning more about the Dardenne’s approach to filmmaking, plus the inclusion of one of their older documentaries that has a connection to “Two Days, One Night”.
Overall, there is a reason why “Two Days, One Night” has received international critical acclaim. It’s another Dardenne brothers film that inspires hope, that showcases humanity (the good and bad), raw and real emotion but most of all, made believable thanks to Marion Cotillard’s performance which was absolutely outstanding.
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