Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: Eric Gravel
Stars: Laura Calamy, Nolan Arizmendi, Sasah Lemaitre Cremaschi, Anne Suarez, Genevieve Mnich, Agatha Dronne, Mathilde Weil, Cyril Guei.
Julie (Laura Calamy, from the comedy Antoinette In The Cevennes, etc) is a single mother who works as the head chambermaid in a prestigious five-star hotel in Paris. She lives in the outer suburbs and daily commutes to and from work. She juggles the demands of her job with raising two young children (Nolan Arizmendi and Sasha Lemaitre Cremaschi). She has applied for a position as a market researcher with a financial company, a job for which she is eminently qualified. She is also struggling financially and is constantly trying to get hold of her ex-husband who has fallen behind in his alimony payment.
But in the week in which she is to be interviewed for the position France is almost paralysed by a massive general strike that disrupts the transport. This puts increased pressure on Julie whose desperation becomes almost palpable as she struggles to cope.
Full Time is the sophomore feature for writer and director by Eric Gravel (Crash Test Aglae) and it deals with some universal themes. Full Time is a piece of socially realist filmmaking that could have come from the Dardenne brothers. Gravel deftly captures the pressure cooker environment as Julie struggles to cope with her situation. He cleverly shows us the daily grind and repetitiveness of Julie’s routine, and most people in the audience will be able to relate to her situation and empathise with her.
Calamy brings intensity and tension to her icily controlled performance as she desperately tries to stay in control. She brings a quiet desperation to the role as she tries to overcome the increasing challenges she faces.
Full Time has been crisply shot by Victor Seguin (Home, etc) who gives the city a cold look with his grey palette. He also uses closeups to capture Julie’s expression giving us insight into her frustration and inner turmoil.
Full Time has been loosely inspired by the general strike that crippled Paris in 1995. The propulsive and relentless electro score from first time composer Irene Dresel adds to the sense of a pressure cooker building up around Julie and adds to the increasingly urgent tempo. The diegetic score adds the sounds of traffic and urban street noises to the mix. The pace rarely lets up for the duration of the running time, and Mathilde Von De Moortel’s razor sharp editing adds to the tension and kinetic energy.
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