DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema

The Measure of a Man (La Loi du Marché)

Director - Stéphane Brizé - 2015

"Greasy movie"
The split allegiances of the ordinary man: in this new French movie, worker Thierry cannot decide whether to side with undignified coworkers and customers or to embrace the corporate values that earlier almost crushed his life

Late Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini stated in an interview in 1974 that “Fascism . . . had not been capable of even scratching the soul of the Italian people; this new Fascism, armed with new means of communication and information . . . has not only scratched the soul of the Italian people but has lacerated, raped, and besmirched it forever.” The filmmaker and poet was obviously referring to consumerism, a phenomenon that imposes its own models and values and destroys thereby many aspects of society. That is exactly what happens to Thierry (Vincent Lindon), the main character in The Measure of a Man.

Thierry, a middle-aged labourer in France, has been unemployed for two years. He is trying to get back into the job market while doing his best to make his ends meet. He goes to meetings at the French equivalent of a job centre, only to find out how atrocious market laws are and how humiliating the process of getting back to work can be. He travels a long distance in order to sell his mobile home to a couple and gets stuck while negotiating. At 51, he begins to understand why stupid, shameless and shallow people make more money than him.

He then takes a job as a security guard in a big supermarket, a situation that will force him to face in a moral conflict. Will he be on the side of poor and exploited people, co-workers and customers, or will he embrace corporate values? He confronts an elderly man who steals meat and has no money and relatives; he watches on CCTV a cashier taking discount coupons for her own personal use; he takes part on the stupid parties for the senior workers. This is a laconic depiction of mankind.

Director and scriptwriter Stéphane Brizé (Mademoiselle Chambon, 2009) paints the screen with the colours of cinema verité – it is all very, very true and cruel. Lindon is simply superb and his performance granted him an award in Cannes 2015. The dehumanising effects of unemployment at first and then at the workplace later become evident in Thierry’s acts and words: it is a performance of restraint. Self-control, self-discipline, moderation, prudence in the name of family integrity. Thierry is also a father of a teenager with mental problems.

In the end, Thierry realises that a person’s dignity becomes the material for a squalid spectacle. French novelist André Malraux once wrote that “The attempt to force human beings to despise themselves is what I call hell”. The Measure of a Man is more than a comment on French society; it is a bald interpretation of our human condition.

Measure of a Man is out in cinemas. .



"Greasy movie"

By Maysa Monção - 26-05-2016

By Maysa Monção - 26-05-2016

Maysa Monção is a Brazilian writer, teacher, translator, editor and art p...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
A lot of British people would rather forget [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]
A small family of four lives in a [Read More...]
Holidaying in Cambodia with Isaac (Ross McCall), Ben [Read More...]

Read More

Little Joe

Jessica Hausner
2019

Jeremy Clarke - 17-02-2020

The pod people are back! A single mum scientist breeds a plant that will make people happy if they nurture it, in a film with strong echoes of Invasion of the Body Snatchers - in cinemas from Friday, February 21st [Read More...]

The Public

Emilio Estevez
2020

Michael McClure - 15-02-2020

Homeless people in Cincinnati take over the local library seeking shelter from the bitter winter, stirring up tensions and raising moral questions - in cinemas Friday, February 21st [Read More...]

When Lambs Become Lions

Jon Kasbe
2020

Redmond Bacon - 12-02-2020

Who is the lion and who is the lamb in Jon Kasbe's fearless When Lambs Become Lions? The answer may surprise you in these even-handed elephant poaching doc, in cinemas Friday February 14th [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

One thought on “The Measure of a Man (La Loi du Marché)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *