“The employee and the boss”, a drama that explores class tension in a rural environment

The new film by Manuel Nieto Zas was filmed in the middle of the Uruguayan countryside, near the border with Brazil.
The new film by Manuel Nieto Zas was filmed in the middle of the Uruguayan countryside, near the border with Brazil.

After passing through the festivals of Cannes, San Sebastián, Guadalajara and Mar del Plata, The employee and the employer, the third film by the Uruguayan director Manuel Nieto Zas (Manolo Nieto), premiered in theaters in Buenos Aires and on the Cine.ar platform (soon it will also be available on Flow). With a cast that brings together actors like Nahuel Perez Biscayart, Justina Bustos Y Jean-Pierre Noher and debutantes who come from the rural world, the film recounts a social drama on the border between Uruguay and Brazil. A tragic accident strains the bond -until then, affable- between the members of two antagonistic classes, based on agribusiness and horse racing.

Perez Biscayart, whose last participation in a River Plate production had been with the fugitive, personifies Rodrigo, a young farm owner with a modern life that does not fit into the stereotypes of the rural producer. In his search for laborers for the soybean harvest, he meets Carlos (Christian Borges), who like him bears the responsibilities of a young fatherhood. “One can understand them as characters in similar situations, although they come from different social backgrounds, they need each other and there is something that cannot separate them,” the actor reasons.

grandson zaz, who previously worked as an assistant director on the award-winning 25 watts Y Whiskeyof his compatriots John Paul Rebella Y paul stoll, and with Lisandro Alonso in The deadalso spoke with Infobae Culture about his work.

–As in your other films (The kennel, son’s place), a theme present in The employee and the employer it is the protagonist’s difficulty in assuming his place in society. As a director, do you face a similar discomfort when traveling far from the city to film?

-It is true that in my three films the protagonists struggle trying to assume their new place in the world, but as a director I do not face that discomfort. On the contrary, I find the city terribly uncomfortable and uninspiring. I like to go to discover something in a far away place, meet people, and in particular the rural world in depth, which I have been exploring for several years. I want to continue down the same path for the next films, not that I will make them the same, but I would like to take those landscapes with some of the characters that I find inside. I do not feel any discomfort in moving to the field, on the contrary, it is pure comfort.

Trailer for The Employee and the Boss, the third film by Uruguayan director Manuel Nieto Zas, starring Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Jean Pierre Noher, Cristian Borges and Justina Bustos.

–Another constant in your filmography is the relationships between different generations and social classes, although always from a complex perspective that avoids schematization. Is it a type of political cinema?

-The conflicts between generations and between social classes seem to me to occur especially in the latter, in the previous films it was not so marked. Although I am aware of the political edges that The employee and the employer, because from its title it raises the class struggle, I take it as a McGuffin. It’s a hook that everyone takes but in reality what I’m trying to do is a film of characters, with two points of view and a specular construction, with a fairly large development and dramatic arc. I don’t consider that I make political cinema, I strive to make a cinema of characters, which builds tension from the drama and the alternation of points of view.

-It was almost eight years between the premiere of this film and the previous one, and there was a similar interval between that and your first film. What takes up the most time when producing your films?

-These eight years between filming, the premiere of one and the next is due to the fact that I dedicate myself to doing everything: I am the screenwriter, producer and director and I do a lot of other little things in between. I also work very meticulously and solitary and let the film find its time. I don’t do them with a lot of money, so one makes up for the lack of resources with time. Above all, it is to hope that the film is ready and light, I do not let myself be overcome by anxiety and I also let those who were associated, the Argentine, French and Brazilian producers, work. With each country it takes a year to get the co-production off the ground and get the help it needs.

–How did you live personally and as a director the experience of having premiered the film at the Cannes Festival?

-Cannes is like a dream that almost every film director has, and for me it was an achievement and a way to complete this long process and also suffered during the last part due to Covid. Showing the film at these festivals makes it have its sales agent and all the producers are happy, generating expectations of having some money recovered. Although the truth is that this last edition of Cannes and those of all the other festivals where I went (San Sebastián, Guadalajara, Mar del Plata) were punctured. Nobody was there: I was sitting on the beach with my arms crossed and I had no meetings. It was full but of tourists, the world of cinema was not there. As social activities were limited by health protocols, there were not many meetings.

Nahuel Pérez Biscayart and Cristian Borges, the employer and the employee linked in the plot.
Nahuel Pérez Biscayart and Cristian Borges, the employer and the employee linked in the plot.

Nahuel Perez Biscayart, who this year worked in one year one night, from Isaki Lacuesta, about the attack on the Bataclan theater in Paris, also spoke with Infobae Culture.

-The protagonists belong to different environments but achieve a certain complicity. Was there a similar understanding with Cristian Borges, the co-star of this story, who does not come from the world of acting? How was that experience for you?

-I would not say that Cristian does not come from the world of acting, because he is a horseman and shows himself in front of the public. That gives him a very clear sense of performance, perhaps not in the sense of cinematographic acting, but he does have a very clear knowledge and aptitude in relation to the exercise of facing the camera or facing someone else who is watching. It was very beautiful to see how quickly he understood the codes and the dynamics of the set. He is very observant and although one from the outside might think that he had no experience, it was inspiring to see how his intelligence was put into practice and generated contact and presence right away.

Our meeting was very bright, there was a more human understanding and it is also nice to have shared moments, visions and curiosities of each other. I think some of that is reflected in the film, or at least I hope the viewer notices it.

–What interested you in the script when joining this project? Did you know Manolo’s work?

-What interests me about projects is sometimes not very easy to put into words. They are more sensitive and inexplicable understandings, but in this case I felt a fairly immediate attraction. I read the script in one go and that’s generally a good sign. I had seen one of Manolo’s films and found it interesting to juxtapose what I had read with what I had seen. I felt that he preserved his entire universe and his apparent sobriety, his field horizon and character observation, all mixed with a compact narrative that generated tensions and a much more concrete narrative arc than in his other films. I was especially interested in the fact that their characters are not only shown based on the plot, but rather it allows them to live and go through situations very freely.

Nahuel Pérez Biscayart with Jean Pierre Noher, his fictional father.
Nahuel Pérez Biscayart with Jean Pierre Noher, his fictional father.

-Even with the difficulties of the character to assume his own place, you played the role of a landowner, something almost opposite to the lumpen that you did in Lulu, for example. How did you feel?

-It was a bit funny because when Manolo sent me the script, naturally I did not recognize myself in the character and I do not feel that it is a type of character that is very close to me or easy to do. But I think that in this distance and in this task of trying to get closer to that role, a struggle is generated between the actor and the character that in this case also has a little to do with the protagonist’s struggle with his family mandate and with his own demands and fears. In that parallelism I think there is an interest for the viewer.

It is also a director’s film, very synthetic and with many ellipses and untold moments. So the challenge was to connect with the other actors in situations that were already loaded with meaning and how to avoid highlighting issues that were present in the script. Manolo is not a director of actors who is obsessed with the characters themselves. I think that once the casting is done, he already knows what the cast can give and dedicates himself to almost documentary filming the fiction that is presented to him in front of the camera. That’s why I didn’t feel like I was taking on a character with a special weight and complexity.

–Does acting again in your own language and on this side of the world give you special satisfaction at this point in your career, when you have more international exposure?

–It is always nice to return to these parts and when one does it with a mission it is exciting because it comes back in another way, with an energy that is colored by the activity in which one embarks. But the Río de la Plata is as international as Europe or any other place I have worked, it is part of the circle in which I am lucky to be able to work. I like to think of it as just another port, and not under the idea of ​​going back to the origin. I could say that the satisfaction that comes to me from coming to film in the region where I grew up is linked to that healthy distance that is the result of having experienced and lived through other things and that allows for a share of relativity and valuing things that one does not value when grew up and lived in one place.


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Helen Hernandez is our best writer. Helen writes about social news and celebrity gossip. She loves watching movies since childhood. Email: Helen@oicanadian.com Phone : +1 281-333-2229

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