Two Days, One Night (French: Deux Jours, Une Nuit)


Two Days, One Night (French: Deux Jours, Une Nuit)

Written by 
Luc Dardenne, Jean-Pierre Dardenne

Director Luc Dardenne, Jean-Pierre Dardenne
Marion Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongione

Category    Ceasing Employment,Employee Relations,Health      


Cinéart (Belgium)



Language French
95 min

Tell A Friend

Add to my Viewing List


Would you forego your own self-interest in the name of worker solidarity? Sandra, a young Belgian mother working at a solar-panel factory, discovers that her coworkers have opted for a significant bonus payment, in exchange for her dismissal. This has happened during the time Sandra has been off work on medical leave for depression. Her boss decides to give her one last chance and to host a second round of voting two days later. Sandra has only one weekend to knock on doors and convince her coworkers to support her.

The film offers a realistic view of the zero-sum game of economic crisis. Faced with the need to cut costs, Sandra’s coworkers were given an either/or ultimatum: they could either receive their much-needed bonuses or let Sandra keep her job. By presenting their staff with this ultimatum, the company's management has effectively made Sandra a sacrificial victim.

Sandra spent her Saturday and Sunday visiting her coworkers. The question "Will you vote for me?" asked again and again, allows us to see the same situation from a new perspective. The responses she got were guilt-ridden, effusive, defensive, apologetic, conflicted, and cold. At this point, the stigma surrounding mental health difficulties in the workplace context is highlighted; one person revealed that the foreman told him that Sandra’s mental illness would negatively affect her work performance.

Despite the various responses, conformity was common among Sandra's coworkers. The first question she was asked by almost every coworker is how many others have already convinced. People tend to conform to the majority because they are concerned about what other people think of them. Everyone was in a state of insecurity and fear for the consequences of their decision, for example the short-term contract worker who was afraid of being fired if the foreman finds out how he voted.

As Sandra talked with each of her coworkers, their own desperate economic straits became clear. They all had their reasons for needing the 1000 Euros bonus, for example a need to pay for a child's education, to settle the gas bill or to buy a new patio. Nevertheless, some coworkers have gradually changed sides. Solidarity is the central message we can take away from the film. In the attempt to save herself over one weekend, Sandra managed to inspire and recreate solidarity that was totally lost in the workplace. In a tough financial climate, coworkers should demonstrate solidarity and civility in dealing with the unpleasant consequences like the one presented in the film.

Eventually, the vote was taken and Sandra lost. However, the manager of the factory called her into his office and agreed to give her the job of one of the others. Sandra committed to her values and ideals, rejected the offer. In the end, even if Sandra loses because she didn't get the majority of the votes, she has already won. Through her fight, she overcame her own personal insecurities and emotional frailties and gained strength and confidence to pursue a new life for herself. The film teaches us that the fight is always worth it, whatever the result!

Contributed by: Elena Hanna