Julie, a market researcher, lost her job when her company closed four years ago. She is a divorced mother who raises two children on the outskirts of Paris and makes a living as a maid in a downtown hotel, struggling between work and household duties. Her next-door neighbor takes care of her children. As the yellow vest protestors cause chaos in French public transport, the precarious balance she barely juggles goes into turmoil. Meanwhile, she is trying hard to get a full-time market research job in her field of study. However, the nationwide strike makes it even more complicated for her to commute and go to job interviews. Her situation gets worse when her ex-husband stops paying child support without a word. Her neighbor refuses to look after her children, and her son gets hurt while playing. Besieged from all fronts of life, can she get a full-time job and find a breakthrough in dire circumstances?
In his second feature, Full Time, France-based Canadian director Eric Gravel depicts the harsh reality of a single mom who raises two kids while working with the instability of a part-time worker. The film shows people who endure long commutes from suburban areas to save housing costs and women whose careers are interrupted due to childbirth and childcare. As strikes and job shortage get worse, their stories make us feel empathetic and frustrated. Electronic music, radio news reports on strikes, and the handheld camera escalate tension and reveal the protagonist’s anxiety. On top of Gravel’s brilliant directing, Laure Calamy’s superb performance elevates the film to a whole new level. The film won the Best Director and Best Actress awards in the Orizzonti section at the 78th Venice IFF. [CHUN Jinsu]
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