近排都是在寫論文, 進展還是很慢很慢, 心情不好, 但又很清晰地知道一切都終將會過去的。
昨天看了Laurent Cantet的Human Resources。平凡不過的一個故事。兒子成為了父親上班工廠的management trainee, 和父親的工人階級形成對立。兒子想學以致用, 在工廠之內推行referendum爭取工人一周工作三十五小時, 但不料反被老闆利用, 以referendum所帶來對領導人的信任孤立工會代表, 以便可以炒工人魷魚。結果兒子發現被裁員工之中有老爸的份兒, 於是便聯同工會代表發起抗議運動。但偏偏父親就是不理解兒子的心理, 兒子也認為做父親的想法陳舊, 兩父子長久存在的隔閡, 以致兩人所代表的階級之間的矛盾, 在片末的抗議運動期間, 一併過爆發出來。
當然導演很著重營造的是所謂無所不在的權力關係(power relationships)。兒子在工廠要求父親放下手中的工作加入罷工大軍的時候, 對父親咆哮說(大意)：「是你和母親一手供養我的, 所以我要聽你們的話, 於是我就成為了這間廠的領導層, 做著你們希望我做的事!」當兒子不顧一切為自己心中理想(某種對社會公義的理解)而和老闆決裂之時, 這正正卻是把父親一生心血都毀掉了。父親在父子的權力關係之中佔有優勢, 但兒子在工廠之中卻和父親對換了身分, 以領導層的姿態高高在上。這兩種權力關係的錯配正正是父子在片中衝突不斷的根源。兒子在片末的質問”What can I do?”, 正正是對這種命定權力關係衝突的無力呼喊。
當初我對這部戲的中文譯名《父慈子哮》有點不得要領的感覺, 現在就全明白了。這其實是一種循環吧。當自己就著一些社會議題和父母親意見不合時, 就正正感受到這一種張力。兒子應該尊重父母親, 但往往自己在知識上是處於一個優勢的位置, “What can I do?”
往往是沉默。但權力的關係一但確立就不能回頭, 於是一代又一代的, 總是不斷的鬥爭著。
Virtual militancy: a conversation with Human Resources filmmaker Laurent Cantet
By Prairie Miller
5 May 2000
Injecting political truth into on-screen drama, French director Laurent Cantet uses real-life labor conflict and its substance and emotions as the stirring ingredients in Human Resources. The story of a son who takes a managerial position after college in a factory where he is hired to effect the layoffs of lifelong workers including his own father, Human Resources wrenchingly and insightfully pits family and social loyalties against one another.
The film concludes with a strike action that dramatically consolidates these contending passions with a resolved and revitalized shared consciousness. Cantet spoke with me about his methods and techniques for creating a powerfully renewed worker cinema for the millenium.
Prairie Miller: What was your inspiration for Human Resources?
Laurent Cantet: I just tried to remember stories that my friends have told me, whose fathers are workers. So I thought back to their lives when I wrote the film.
PM: Why did you want Human Resources to take place mostly inside a factory?
LC: I wanted to film in a factory because you almost never see factories in a movie. I think nobody wants to see that part of society, because the life of people in the factories is so hard that I think nobody wants to know that.
PM: But don’t audiences go to see movies about tragedy?
LC: Yes, but work is not a tragedy. It is tiring and boring. But I think for the past five years in France, people are returning to an involvement in social issues. So French movies are reflecting that tendency. I’m not sure this is just happening in France, but social issues are becoming very important in France right now.
PM: Why do you feel there is a renewed social conscious evolving?
LC: I think society is changing, and people are now understanding that something is going wrong. It’s because unemployment has been increasing, and a lot of people felt threatened. So they began to share their problems and anxieties with one another.
PM: Where did your own reverence for workers originate?
LC: My grandfather was a baker who worked with his hands, and had a reverence for work. The old factory worker in my movie who is laid off could have reminded me of my grandfather; his connection to his work was so similar. And I believe that reverence for work was transmitted to me, as I am now transmitting it to my own children.
PM: Why did you choose nonprofessionals as actors for your movie, and did they have similar experiences in their own lives to those of the strikers in Human Resources?
LC: All of the actors except the main character Frank are nonprofessional. And I found them on the unemployment lines. Yes, most of them have the lives of the characters they are playing. Danielle Melador, who plays the strike leader, is a real trade unionist. Jean-Claude Vallod, who plays the old metal factory worker, has been a factory worker since he was 14, doing the very same job we see him performing in the movie.
But I love the way nonprofessional actors perform. Maybe it’s not as smooth as the professionals, but I feel it’s more authentic. And with an actor like Vallod, his body is speaking as much as what I wrote for him. It’s in the way he stands in front of his machine, that’s something that nobody could actually simulate, I think.
PM: Did these workers have any advice or input into the story?
LC: Some of them were really involved in what the movie has to say. The trade unionist, for example, considered that what she did in the film is just a continuation of her political activity. And when Human Resources was released in France, Danielle went to many of the theaters to discuss the movie with audiences because she wanted to carry out her activism through the film.
And at first I wasn’t sure of what I was writing, because I couldn’t truly know about life in a factory. I needed these workers to advise me, and they would tell me when I could go further in what I was saying.
Sometimes there were situations that might be perceived as caricatures. For instance, there is one scene where the old factory worker is humiliated in front of his son by the boss. I thought I might be making Vallod’s character into too much of a caricature. But they told me, no, you can go there; and in fact that humiliation could be much worse in real life.
PM: So in a sense some of these workers were co-directors?
LC: Right. They helped me a lot.
PM: What is Danielle doing since the movie?
LC: In fact, she is unemployed. But she is the leader of an unemployed committee. Danielle was fired from her factory when she was 52 years old, and couldn’t find any work since then.
PM: In Human Resources, Danielle is denounced by the bosses as a communist. Was that just name calling, or is she actually a communist?
LC: Danielle is in a trade union that is linked to the French Communist Party. It is a workers’ federation that is very close to the Communist Party.
PM: What is the significance of the title Human Resources?
LC: There are two reasons for my choice of the title. The first reason is that we use this expression “human resources” without even thinking about what we are saying. It’s just an administrative expression. In fact, it’s quite cynical because you are talking about human beings in the same inanimate way you would talk about money or energy.
The second point is that all my characters at the beginning are identified only in a social context, as factory workers. And then the story gives them a chance to reveal what is beneath those social labels, what is more human. So perhaps it is ultimately the resources of humanity itself.
By the end of the film, people can hardly speak. They’re just speechless. One woman, her eyes red from crying, said, “Your film is awful.” I was stunned, but then she continued: “The film was too awful, it looked just like my life. But please, thank you for making the film.” So it’s painful for people to see Human Resources, but they thank me for having made it.
PM: What do you hope Human Resources will say to audiences?
LC: The film asks a lot of questions about the place of any one of us in society and the world. And also what it means to find or not find our place. And the second point is the price of commitment.
PM: We never see movies treat the issue of class in the US. Talk about how you focus on class in Human Resources.
LC: I think that they would like to have us believe politically and in factories that class issues don’t exist anymore. But after spending a few months in the factories speaking with workers and bosses, it is obvious that class divisions are still very much alive.
When I was visiting different factories to choose one in which to make this movie, I heard so many things. The power relationships haven’t changed at all. Those class relationships can still explain the world.