“The employee and the employer”: social differences and the order of things | At Cine Gaumont and CineAr Play


Uruguay / Argentina / Brazil / France, 2021

Direction and script: Manolo Nieto Zas.

Duration: 107 minutes.

Interpreters: Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Cristian Borges, Justina Bustos, Fátima Quintanilla, Jean Pierre Noher.

Premiere at Cine Gaumont and CineAr Play.

In his second feature film, Son’s place (2013), Uruguayan Manolo Nieto Zas faced not only two generations of the same family – with the father dead, the heir had to travel from Montevideo to Salto to continue (or not) with business – but the representatives of various social classes, avoiding both caricature and willful simplifications. The employee and the employer, whose world premiere took place last year at the Cannes Festival, continues on that path, away from the alienated manners of the director’s debut, The kennel (2006), also playing with the possibilities of the low intensity thriller. Rodrigo (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, sharp as always) accompanies his father in the family business while he is going through a distressing stage with his wife Federica (Justina Bustos). The fact is that the couple’s young son may or may not be suffering from a neurological “syndrome”, a diagnosis that, for the moment, no doctor has been able to confirm with certainty.

The soybean farm, located somewhere in Uruguay very close to the Brazilian border, always requires employees and just at harvest time a couple of workers are no longer part of the party. That is why Rodrigo crosses to the other side in search of a reliable young man who knows how to handle the combine. Nieto Zas plunges into history without any prolegomena, presenting the protagonists with notes and details that gradually outline them. Far from the classic representative of the country bourgeoisie, Rodrigo does not reflect the archetype of the residence pattern, he is sensitive to the problems and conflicts of his employees and is willing to give a hand (his father, played by Jean Pierre Noher, seems to be a little closer to that class character, defined by a cool distance). The one chosen for the task is Carlos (newcomer Cristian Borges), a well-known boy in the family, a good rider, reliable from his references. Everything runs smoothly, like that huge soybean tractor, until an accident disrupts everything that seemed deceptively composed.

Who is most responsible for the event? The owner of the land or who was behind the wheel? The answer, for those who see the film, seems easy to answer, but the work accident and the human and economic consequences have unexpected and complex corollaries. After the tragedy, Carlos continues working in the ranch in other tasks; in a central scene before the third act, as the person in charge of a barbecue, the employee is treated with paternalism and some contempt by one of the guests. Rodrigo hears and observes everything with obvious discomfort, but says absolutely nothing. In that brief instance of radical dramatic importance, what is not said is as important or more important than what is verbalized. Far from admonition or the simple descent of the ideological line, The employee and the employer plays with the viewer’s ideological preconceptions, without offering clear answers or demagogic solutions.

Then there will come the possibility of reconciling points of view and aspirations, thanks to a cross-country race that takes place every year and allows the purchase and sale of race horses. At that time, when Nieto climbed into suspense, allowing certain suspicions and fears of possible reckless attitudes to anticipate the possibility of a new tragic event. The epilogue rebalances the forces, but not in the way that Rodrigo (or Carlos) would have hoped. There is no case: the order of things is so rigid, it has been so prefigured for so long, that no individual is capable of breaking his skeleton to assemble a new body with his bones.

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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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