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Dir: Emmanuel Carrère
Cast: Juliette Binoche, Hélène Lambert, Louise Pociecka
Running time: 107 mins
French with English subtitles
Juliette Binoche impresses as an undercover journalist living amongst gig workers in acclaimed writer Emmanuel Carrère’s powerful drama.
Adapted by Carrère from journalist Florence Aubenas’ non-fiction bestseller The Night Cleaners (Le quai de Ouistreham), Between Two Worlds unfolds in the wake of the 2008 global economic collapse. Marianne Winckler (Binoche) relocates to the port city of Caen in order to pass herself off as a member of a large community of itinerant workers desperate to make ends meet. She gains employment as a cleaner on a ferry travelling between Ouistreham and Portsmouth, recording the drudgery of the work she and her colleagues are required to do. At the same time, Winckler grapples with the ethical and moral dimensions of posing as one of the workers, balancing the need to highlight the lives of her colleagues with her subterfuge. Her dilemma is heightened as the women develop bonds of friendship and community, displaying a resilience and sense of fun beneath the hardship of their work. Binoche once again shows her versatility, never portraying Winckler as a crusader, nevertheless conveying the perspective of someone who feels her exposé is worth a level of sacrifice.
As a writer, Carrère’s auto-fiction evinces a documentary feel. That tone carries over into his direction. His film balances a portrait of Winckler with that of the workers and the struggles they face, smartly leaving the audience to answer the moral quandaries on show.
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