The Measure of a Man
The Measure of a Man screens on Saturday, March 26 ONLY. For additional ticketing information, please refer to the Gene Siskel Film Center website here.
Stéphane Brizé’s affecting feature about a middle age man’s obsolesce won Vincent Lindon a Best Actor award at Cannes, but it’s Brizé’s subtle direction for The Measure of a Man that really should be highlighted here. In a film about a man coping with the loss of his job and the subsequent changes that come with the contemporary job hunt, Lindon captures all the anxieties and self-doubts that are associated with this daunting search. But it’s in Brizé’s direction that we navigate how the details of his search and his subsequent service sector employment take upon a cumulative aspect of fatigue and desperation.
The film positions Thierry (Lindon) as somewhat unpleasant, not mean-spirited but focused – a straight-faced, no nonsense, and simple man. Or that’s how his immediate colleagues and strangers perceive him. Composed of just a handful of scenes, Brizé will often position Thierry against the hostility of workplace politics or the drudgery of a Skype interview with scenes of his wife and handicapped son. Brizé emphasizes a stationary and grounded Thierry in scenes where he’s combating relentless antagonism – often seen statuesque when confronted with harsh criticisms or contending with a stubborn customer. The camera and Lindon move breathlessly within sequences that include his family; he is often seen dancing with his wife. These gestures may seem obvious but their affect results in an undeniable vision of the acrimonious capitalistic society that Thierry inhabits, and the refuge that family can provide.