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Human Resources [1999] [DVD]

Jalil Lespert , Jean-Claude Vallod , Laurent Cantet    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Jalil Lespert, Jean-Claude Vallod, Chantal Barré, Véronique de Pandelaére, Michel Begnez
  • Directors: Laurent Cantet
  • Producers: Caroline Benjo, Barbara Letellier
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Soda Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Jun 2007
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000LE0TXS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 85,605 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Multi Cannes-award winning French film explores the depth of family ties as a young man is forced to fire his father. Franck (Jalil Lespert), a business student in Paris, returns to his hometown to do a year's practical internship at the factory his father (Jean-Claude Vallod) has worked at for 30 years. He renews ties with his family and is welcomed back to their bosom. The rosy glow soon diminishes when it appears his position is in the Human Resources department - the division charged with forcing the workforce to accept a rather unsavoury proposal and resolve a brooding labour dispute. The dispute soon becomes personal with father on one side and son on the other. Also included is a short film by director Laurent Cantet - 'Les Sanguinnaires' - in which a group of friends decide to flee Paris to escape the global countdown to the new millennium. They exile themselves on a remote island but the world can't be escaped that easily.

Product Description

Played once. Disc and case in perfect order.


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable film about work and relationships 18 Aug 2010
By Adam G
Format:DVD
Unfortunately, the previous review does not do justice to this brilliant film. The film asks fundamental questions about work and the nature of employment: should we have security where we work? Should our work be socially useful and rewarding? What would socially useful and rewarding work actually feel like? Should we have influence over the conditions of our work or is it simply a matter of those with money and power having all choice? What of the role of migrant workers, are they to be friends, allies or enemies of local workers? These kinds of questions lie beneath most people's lives today and Human Resources locates all these questions within the complex relationship of a factory-working father and a son seeking to rise above his social status. Where should loyality lie? To one's community, one's friends and family or to naked self-ambition? The film is wonderful, it is not anachronistic at all and given the contemporary economic situation with millions of people around the world losing their jobs and facing dire economic insecurity, the film remains very relevant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good indeed 27 Feb 2013
By schumann_bg TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Laurent Cantet stands alongside Michael Haneke as a director who looks at some of the most important themes in modern life, turning his attention to the the sex trade for older women and exploitation of young men in Haiti, the problems of inner city schools, and, in Time Out and Human Resources, the problems of employment and what it means in a person's life. Like Haneke, you can recognise his style instantly, but this film, which was the first of the four, I think, is the one I like best, and is, in a way, the least depressing, although it is still quite depressing! What it does do is present you with a compelling analysis of a factory and the relationship between a father, who works on the factory floor, and his son, who has been through a grande ecole and is a trainee for a limited period at the same factory. The pressures on the son, his integrity and his feeling for his family, put him in an impossible situation and he becomes more and more fraught after a promising start. Really there are no easy solutions to his inner tensions but they are superbly dramatised in a documentary style that brings into conflict social classes, the value of work, self-esteem and progress in a challenging and brilliant screenplay. It is also very moving at times, with Jalil Lespert ideal for the role. His handsome face helps a film which is not concerned very much with aesthetics, but this aspect does help, a bit like Montgomery Clift in I Confess. The father is also extremely good in his taciturn, dogged way, and the final scenes of the film are utterly heartbreaking.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Dennis Littrell TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
I thought this was played in a rather too pedestrian manner until near the end when the unspoken conflict between the father and the son exploded. In a sense this is a story more or less a century behind its time. We have the factory and the bosses, and we have the workers whose labor is exploited by those who own and control the capital. We have the union organizers who are little different from those who long ago sought a worker's paradise while employing communist tactics.

But where this is different is that it depicts the conflict in a contemporary setting with the institution of the 35-hour week as the bone of contention. Jalil Lespert plays Franck, the son who is home for the summer from college in Paris to serve as a management trainee at the factory where his father (Jean-Claude Vallod) is employed. The father is a throwback to the loyal worker of the 19th century who was wedded to the machine, who adored the machine, someone who has completely accepted his status as worker/cog in the greater machine that is the factory. Even in his off hours he works cutting wood using a large buzz saw in his garage. But he wants something better for his son.

The son is personable and talented. He puts together a questionnaire that allows management to see how its employees feel about the 35-hour week in order to better manipulate them. By accident he discovers that management is going to fire 12 workers, most of whom have spent their entire working lives for the company. This is the crisis point for the son.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Raw, Strong, Personal, Socioeconomic Cinematic Experience... 24 Nov 2004
By Kim Anehall - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
The film Human Resources illustrates the dilemma of when class differences clash as a young man from a lower class tries to rise to a higher class. The young man, Franck (Jalil Lespert), returns to his hometown to begin an internship for human resources at a local factory. Franck's father, a machinist, who is close to retirement, works for the same company that he is doing his internship for. Franck's childhood friends also work for the same company, and now Franck has to assume the role as a leader over the people of his past. The status change that Franck has acquired through higher academic achievement does not come with as smooth of a transition, as he expected, as it becomes a rough journey into personal socioeconomic choices.

Franck's intentions are honorable as he attempts to balance the internship at a managerial position in the human resource department with his parents and friends' social standing. But as expected a life of profiteering collides with the socially learned values that Franck has acquired from a young age as he sees the injustices committed by the company for which he is interning. Franck faces a decision of what is right and wrong, but also a decision that could destroy a potential successful future.

Laurent Cantet's vision depicts the social inequality between the rich and poor in a modern society thought the business student Franck and his choices. Cantet also displays the daily hard work of the blue-collar population, as their daily endeavors are frequently directed by the white-collar sector. Through the careful direction of Cantet the audience gets to experience a political cinematic experience, which offers much food for thought. The cinematography enhances the experience through the documentary-like style of the film as it creates an authentic atmosphere. This authentic atmosphere makes the story so much more personal to the audience, which in the end leaves the audience pondering social difference.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Taut Working Class Drama 24 Sep 2004
By Black Peter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This is a surprisingly strong film about labor and family relations in small French suburb. This earlier feature by one of France's rising stars of Cinema (see his exceptional TIME OUT) is heart breaking in it's depection of factory life and the mutability of family ties. With excellent real life performances the films near documentary style only adds to it's power.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Management vs. labor in a contemporary French setting 14 Jan 2007
By Dennis Littrell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I thought this was played in a rather too pedestrian manner until near the end when the unspoken conflict between the father and the son exploded. In a sense this is a story more or less a century behind its time. We have the factory and the bosses, and we have the workers whose labor is exploited by those who own and control the capital. We have the union organizers who are little different from those who long ago sought a worker's paradise while employing communist tactics.

But where this is different is that it depicts the conflict in a contemporary setting with the institution of the 35-hour week as the bone of contention. Jalil Lespert plays Franck, the son who is home for the summer from college in Paris to serve as a management trainee at the factory where his father (Jean-Claude Vallod) is employed. The father is a throwback to the loyal worker of the 19th century who was wedded to the machine, who adored the machine, someone who has completely accepted his status as worker/cog in the greater machine that is the factory. Even in his off hours he works cutting wood using a large buzz saw in his garage. But he wants something better for his son.

The son is personable and talented. He puts together a questionnaire that allows management to see how its employees feel about the 35-hour week in order to better manipulate them. By accident he discovers that management is going to fire 12 workers, most of whom have spent their entire working lives for the company. This is the crisis point for the son.

Without going into plot details, what we discover at the end is that the father despises himself because he is nothing more than a man who feeds a machine while the son reveals that he at some level hates his father because he is a factory worker, a man who had neither the ability nor the gumption to raise about his station in life and a man who is afraid to question management.

Bottom line: slow and realistic to the point of being mundane with professional, but uninspired direction by Laurent Cantet.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tendentious Agitprop 2 Aug 2012
By Robert Schneider - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
The acting is strong, the plot is initially intriguing, and it's enjoyable for about the first hour. But then it descends into cliches -- upright workers who care about craftsmanship and their fellow man, heartless management without values whose greatest pleasure is eliminating jobs -- and the plot becomes schematic and hard to fathom. There's one black in the factory, and it's of course him that befriends the oh-so-earnest lead character, as if blackness confers moral superiority. You know where we're headed, and it isn't a Tea Party convention.

With an RT rating of 97, most viewers will undoubtedly enjoy the film. But there's probably 20% like me who will intensely dislike its jejune politics.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars real people, real issues 23 Dec 2004
By A. C. Walter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
"Human Resources" is an excellent docudrama about labor issues in France following the instatement of the 35-hour work week (a measure taken to help remedy the country's unemployment crisis). The film has a wonderfully realistic tone and authentic characters coping with the challenges of everyday life in the modern world. Director Laurent Cantent (of the superb "Time Out") has given us as substantive a look at public issues working themselves out in individual lives as we saw in Soderbergh's "Erin Brockovich" or Sayles' "Matewan."
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