The Boston Phoenix
Review from issue: September 7 - 14, 2000

[Boston Film Festival]

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Human Resources

A story about labor conflict and coming of age could easily make for a plodding, self-conscious bore, but Laurent Cantet pulls off the task humbly and well. College boy Frank (Jalil Lespert) returns to his home town for a managerial internship in the factory where his dad (Jean-Claude Vallod) does piecework. Frank suggests fancy changes; dad gets the boot as a byproduct. Plagued by guilt -- bam! -- Frank turns in his suit to join strikers as they close down the factory.

There's a sort of big "duh" about Frank's naïveté as he moves from rosy-cheeked idealism to furrowed-brow disillusionment -- didn't life in Paris teach him anything? But Cantet excels with his portrayal of alienating factory scenes, thanks to directorial contributions from a cast of real factory workers plucked from unemployment lines. The casualty, unfortunately, is character development. Save for an abrupt father-son eruption that lacks both build-up and follow-through, there are more dirty work clothes than messy interpersonal interactions. Screens tonight at 6:30 and 9 p.m. and tomorrow at 12:30, 2:50, and 5:10 p.m.

-- Nina Willdorf

Film Festival Feature Films

Shadow of the Vampire | Songcatcher | Venus Beauty Institute | What's Cooking? | The Broken Hearts Club | Envy | Goya in Bordeaux | Human Resources | Skipped Parts | Amargosa | Henry Hill | Relative Values | The Rising Place | The Contender | Pitch People | Roof to Roof | Four Dogs Playing Poker | Reckless Indifference | Requiem for a Dream | Shadow Magic | About Adam | Charming Billy | Enemies of Laughter | Into the Arms of Strangers | Running on the Sun | A Trial in Prague | Harry, He's Here to Help | A Man is Mostly Water | Seven Girlfriends

Also, Boston Film Festival short films

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