VENICE: The tension between labour and profit in globalised, market-oriented economies is at the centre of French director Stéphane Brizé's new film Another World, the story of a plant manager who is asked by his bosses to lay off his own workers.
The movie, which premieres at the Venice Film Festival on Friday (Sep 10), follows actor Vincent Lindon in the role of Philippe Lemesle, an executive at the French unit of Elsonn, a fictional multinational manufacturing firm.
At home, his marriage is unravelling because of the pressures of his work. In the office, he is confronted by angry colleagues questioning his values and loyalties as he draws up a list of those set to lose their job.
The film is the last instalment in a trilogy about labour issues by Brizé, but the director told Reuters the man's strained relationship with his own family was just as important as his job in Another World.
"It's a story about people who question their commitment, both at the professional and personal level," he told Reuters in an interview.
While his previous two films on the subject - also starring Lindon - looked at the employees-employer relationship from the point of view of the workers, this time it is the manager and his own inner conflict that take centre stage.
"I wanted to get out of the dichotomy, which is perhaps a little simplistic and comfortable, whereby you have bad managers who do bad things to the nice workers," Brizé said.
He added that had wanted to tackle the issue from a different perspective, without overlooking the plight of society's most fragile, or seeking sympathy for highly-paid corporate bosses.
"A lot of those managers, a lot of them, were not born to be an executioner, but they slowly find themselves becoming one and losing part of their humanity."
The film is one of 21 titles vying for the top Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival, which ends on Saturday.