To the cinema to see Stéphane Brizé's film The Measure of a Man. The first half of the film is a picture of the miseries of unemployment — the mortifying routines of futile retraining, reorientation, learning to abandon pride. The second half of the film is a picture of the miseries of employment — learning to abandon kindness, pity and the pride you have left, having to make a show of devotion to employers who in return care nothing for you. It is a quietly unconventional film; it offers little narrative, no catharsis, much vicarious embarrassment and shame; it shows you mostly what you already knew, but the clarity leaves you squirming back into the darkness.
The protagonist, Thierry (Vincent Lindon, who last month at Cannes won the Best Actor prize for this role), has a Skype interview for a job working machine tools. The interview establishes that he is an experienced machine-tool operator, that he has worked on the right makes of machine — ah, but he's only familiar with the version 7 operating system, not version 8: the interviewer wonders why he didn't take the time to familiarize himself with the newer version while he was still employed. He tells Thierry that the job will be at a lower level than his last job, that he will be paid less, that he will have to work flexible hours, that by the way, his resumé is poorly written. And once Thierry has swallowed all these little humiliations, the interviewer tells him, in the interests of honesty, that he has practically no chance of getting the job.
Some disjointed thoughts: