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The Dardenne Brothers on Creating a Careful Imitation of Life for ‘Two Days, One Night’

Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne’s new film Two Days, One Night tells the intimate story of a woman named Sandra (Marion Cotillard) desperately trying to convince her co-workers to let her keep her job, despite the fact that they will all get bonuses if she’s fired.

“We like to see ordinary people do extraordinary things,” Luc Dardenne tells Indiewire about their character-driven films. “We like to discover the extraordinary in the ordinary. When I say extraordinary I’m not referring to anything supernatural or cataclysmic. I’m referring to someone who might have voted to keep their bonus over keeping Sandra, but who can change and vote the other way. That metamorphosis in a human is what I consider extraordinary.”

The brothers started work on their screenplay ten years ago. “We were attentive to the fact that we had decided Sandra would have these sequential encounters with her co-workers,” Jean-Pierre explains. “Therefore, there was a little bit of trepidation in the sense that it is a repetitive action, but we couldn’t have it be so repetitious that it would become boring. We were extremely careful so that would not happen.”

But despite their careful writing process, they keep a very interesting perspective on the medium of film. “Our dialogue is not real life dialogue,” Luc says. “The dialogue we write is very bare-bones. Our actors don’t move like people would in real life. In real you might move around a lot or do a certain gesture. If one of our actors tries to do that we tell them, ‘No, you can’t do that, we are not in real life.’ It’s an imitation of life, not real life. You have to strip away a lot of what you do in real life to find life on the screen.”

Read the full story here.

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