Directed by Stephane Brize
10th June – 16th June 2016
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
Watching this film about an unemployed man in France being coreced into endless meaningless courses, interviews and writing appraisals of his work skills and experience vividly recalled similar situations I have been involved in in the past.
18 months after losing his factory job, Thierry Taugourdeau (Vincent Lindon) is still striving to get back into paid employment.
The Measure of a Man is an accomplished social drama which focuses on the emotional trauma you can encounter when your income plummets and you experience negative changes in your life style and expectations.
Amid all the challenges he faces, Thierry stoically keeps his optimism about finally finding work again.
What helps makes the film authentic is that a number of the characters are not played by actors but by people who, in real life, actually carry out particular functions, for example, an employment counsellor and a supervisor of interview techniques.
Thierry eventually ends up working as a security guard at a hypermarket. One of his duties is to, with the aid of 90 cameras, spy on all of the customers shopping there. One of his colleagues remarks to him that “all of them are potential shoplifters.”
His level of job satisfaction of the security roles he plays gradually decline as days go by.
It comes to a head in the final scene. Despite his financial hardships he still possesses his self respect and dignity.