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WATCH: Cotillard Seeks Help in Dardenne Brothers' Cannes Hit 'Two Days, One Night' (TRAILER)

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by Anne Thompson
July 10, 2014 10:06 AM
2 Comments
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"Two Days, One Night"
"Two Days, One Night"

The Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have never made a bad movie. These painstaking writer-directors carefully prepare, rehearse for three weeks before filming, and always deliver something compelling and watchable. The Dardennes first approached Marion Cotillard when they were involved in producing Jacques Audiard's "Rust and Bone." As soon as they met her they knew they wanted to work with her, they said in Cannes. The feeling was mutual. A longtime admirer of the Dardennes, Cotillard signed on first for a story about a rural doctor and then a different script inspired by true stories from the economic crisis about a working class woman. The result is the stunning "Two Days, One Night" which failed to win a prize at Cannes (which has showered the Dardennes with prizes over the years). Watch the new trailer below. 

Oscar-winner Cotillard ("La Vie en Rose") manages to fold herself into this everyday woman, a factory manager who is suffering depression. Her job is being cut back. With the support of her husband (Dardennes regular Fabrizio Rongione) rallies herself to fight to get back her position. Her bosses are bribing their 16 employees with a 1000 Euro bonus if they are willing to let her go. She has to meet each one and plead for mercy--she can't afford to lose her job--and some of them, it turns out, aren't willing to give up their booty.

Over two days we watch this fragile woman summon the strength to plead her cause, which incites fractious arguments between husbands and wives and fathers and sons, as well as some moving support. Who will back her on the secret ballot vote? Who won't? Will she hold it together long enough to win the day? She's on a razor-thin edge throughout, constantly ready to retreat into depression and meds. Her husband lovingly holds on to her and pushes her back into the world. 

"What made everything possible is it's something we all did together," Jean-Pierre Dardennes told Canal Plus. "We discovered it together...She herself becomes someone else, in going out to others with the support of her husband. She becomes a woman who is no longer afraid to express her opinion."

The Dardennes have always sought the universal in the specific. "These are the people we know," said Luc. "The solidarity among colleagues is something that is often missing and separates us all from each other, this is a universal message, it's strong." It took them a while to find the appropriate ending that rang true. 

"I wasn't surprised at how demanding they are," Cotillard told Canal Plus. "To achieve these results a lot of work is required. I like more than anything too discover new worlds and ways of discovering this world. With Jean-Pierre and Luc it's everything I always dreamed of in the relationship of directors and actors, to go into such detail."

In short, this is a juicy role for any actress and Cotillard runs with it. "I love complex parts," Cotillard said at the Cannes press conference. "I'm moved by people who manage, who cope, despite circumstances and situations and their handicap, for example. I learn a lot about human beings and the human condition when I explore these people's souls...I just set myself aside and become the other person...I try to go as deep as I can into the character to set aside the work aspect and become that person, give up my own identity, become the person. Once on set if I've found all these keys, I don't have much to do but hand the car keys to the character and that character drives me rather than the opposite."

Rehearsing is key, the cast said, in costume and on set, before and during the shooting, as the cameras follow them. "We get to know each other very well," said Cotillard, "and find the right movement of the bodies and the cameras, it's like a dance a rhythm...We save time on shooting and focus on the acting exclusively. For an actor or actress that's stupendous. There are no obstacles in the way of what we are portraying and saying. You have the tale that unfolds untrammeled, the images and cameras follow the movement." 

But everyone is working from a script. Nothing is improvised. "I've always dreamt of working with those directors who will lead me to the deepest details," said Cotillard," the finest details of a character and a film. I've always sensed in their films that there would be a huge amount of work involved in order to attain the perfection they achieve in their films."

IFC Sundance Selects will release the film, which we can expect to turn up on the fall festival circuit.

Watch the trailer below.


2 Comments

  • Stergios | July 10, 2014 4:15 PMReply

    Oh my God, this trailer is totally amazing. It's true that the Dardennes Brothers are simply incapable of making a bad movie. Actually, they're simply incapable of making any movie that will be anything less than a groundbreaking masterpiece. And "Two Days, one night" is obviously anything less than that. I still struggle though to get over the emotion evoked from Marion Cotillard's phenomenal performance in this trailer. Seriously, Cotillard
    portrays her every role as if the soul of her character has penetrated into every part of her body. I simply cannot explain how is it possible for her to do something like that. Actually, I simply cannot explain how is it possible for an ordinary mortal to be that talented. She has an almost non-human talent in acting and she displays it with such rawness, truth and honesty once again. If she won't get her second Oscar in A Leading Role for in 2015, this will be the biggest injustice in the history of Oscars. Ever. In any category. I really think it's absurd to live in a world where Marion Cotillard has only one nomination (and a much deserved win, of couse, in fact the most deserving in the history of Academy Awards). How can this be possible, really? I couldn't agree more with what Pedro says. Marion Cotillard must win another Oscar in 2015! I mean, let's face it, Cotillard is without a hint of doubt the greatest actress of all time. There has never been an actress (nor there will ever be, I'm pretty sure about that) that can reach her otherwordly talent in acting, her unmatched technical skills, her obviously limitless depth, her
    level of commitment to every role she so brilliantly portrays on screen or on stage and her constant desire to take risks. Marion Cotillard is the definition of acting, something like the incarnation of the word itself, she tops every person in the history of mankind, male or female
    (from Daniel Day-Lewis and Philip Seymour Hoffman to Katharine Hepburn and Meryl Streep) who ever attempted to become an actor. With every performance she gives, she redefines the term of acting, it's as if she pushes acting to a whole another level. From the legendary Edith Piaf of "La vie en rose" and the disturbed Mal of "Inception" to the long-suffering wife of Day-Lewis' Guido in "Nine" and the emotionally shattered amuptee from "Rust and bone", Marion Cotillard has dedicated herself to her craft in a way no actor/actress can ever claim he/she ever did. She's criminally ignored from the Academy since winning her first Oscar back in 2008 for giving the best female performance ever put on screen in "La vie en rose". How can she have only one Oscar nomination and win? I mean, for Christ's sake, it doesn't make any sense. Sandra Bullock has two Oscar nominations and one win! Mere words cannot do justice to Marion Cotillard's talent. Her talent in acting is so powerful that can overshadow any
    performance given by an actress in any year. She's such a miracle of an actress that no one's work can even come close with hers in any year. Any year. Let alone this year, with the towering work she's done in James Gray's "The Immigrant", Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's "Two Days, One Night" and Justin Kurzel's "Macbeth". She's said to be incredible also in the latter from people who've seen footage of the film, but I have no doubts about it at all. She can't help but being incredible. She's Marion Cotillard, for Christ's sake! The best actress ever and she's still without a second Oscar nomination. God! How can Academy members sleep at night while snubbing her so relentlessly since 2008 for everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) of the astonishing things she's done on screen? Personally, I don't get it. Really, I don't. It doesn't make any sense.

  • Pedro | July 10, 2014 2:31 PMReply

    Marion Cotillard please win another Oscar in 2015!

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