Film. Romain Duris is surprisingly credible in Nos Batailles, social and realistic film that wants to capture our times … Unless it becomes a caricature?
By Théo Ribeton
Olivier (Romain Duris) really has no luck : He resumes every day the power struggle interrupted the day before with the management of the warehouse where he works. One of these shipping centers of a giant online sales, modern and “flexible” version of the factory of yesteryear, where he will become staff representative. And now, as a bonus his family is threatening to break up, the day his wife leaves without a word, leaving him alone with children.
”Romain Duris, Amazing in the skin of a man who has trouble expressing his feelings
Worker naturalism has a galloping rating in French cinema. A fairly new phenomenon and probably triggered, or at least boosted, by the rise of the tandem Stéphane Brizé-Vincent Lindon (The Measure of man, a million entries, and the most recent At War, whose title is not not unlike that of Nos Batailles). But it is also a phenomenon tinged with irony: today are praised to the skies all gimmicks that were yesterday the laughing stock of popular taste. The caricaturally grayish, sad, apathetic and, of course, exclusionary auteur cinema (which until then only interested readers of Télérama) suddenly saw an idyll with France.
Nos Batailles is not missed : Guillaume Senez brushes some beautiful female characters around his working class hero (Laetitia Dosch as sister-artist, Laure Calamy conquers one evening). He knows how to keep his film in tension, on a ridge that befits an unpredictable and electric actor like Romain Duris. Astonishing in the skin of a man who has trouble expressing his feelings, subject to mood swings, struggling to stay connected to his loved ones.
But we will not can help doing to see in Nos Batailles the caricature of this new unifying imagery. This film will remain as the case study of a new specifications, fixing an aesthetic of the poor strictly fixed, with his dress code (jumper with big mesh and monochrome blue-gray …), his engraved-cerned-unshaven figures , his departures to work in Kangoo dented before dawn, and his returns while the children are already lying … And especially his way to soft-soap of living together (tenacious cliché: when a family starts to go better, we film the birthday of the kid).
On television, this landscape and its figurines are usually used to sell health insurance : we mix the images of social galley with those of simple joys and mutual help, we add an air of melancholy folk, and here we go boys and girl ! “That’s it, being a militant insurer”. But is that being a filmmaker?