With controversy still heavy in the air after the end of Cannes Film Festival last month it continues to confound and confuse in its attribution of awards. Whilst all the headlines were around the winners of the Palme d’Or and Grand Prix, one film won an almost unprecedented two awards. Shahab Hosseini won Best Actor for The Salesman, which also won Best Screenplay. Vincent Lindon picked-up the award for Measure of a Man back in 2015.
After being laid off from his job as a factory worker, 51 year old Thierry (Lindon) has now been unemployed for 18 months. He’s spent his whole life working in the now dying French manufacturing industry and discovering it’s incredibly difficult to find any kind of work. At the same time he’s facing the financial pressure of supporting his wife (Karine De Mirbeck) and disabled son (Matthieu Schaller) as their savings are rapidly dwindling.
Whilst Stéphane Brizé’s film is an important document about the situation faced by many working-class people in modern France, it’s decidedly one-paced. Lindon is, however, excellent in the lead role. As the camera lingers on him, his face says it all; moving between forlorn, determined and stoic. Th Measure of a Man succeeds in portraying today’s socio-economic woes for many who find themselves without a job or industry, but as a film it often feels like a bit of a slog at times.
The Measure of a Man is out in cinemas on Friday.