The European social cinema has had as benchmarks in the past decades are weight filmmakers as Ken Loach, the Dardenne brothers, Aki Kaurismaki and Robert Guediguian, to name just a few examples. With the exception of the Finnish filmmaker, all of them have released a new work this year, incorporating into their cinema the pressing problems that affect the European population at present.
‘Gloria Mundi’ and the necessary complaint cinema
While the Dardennes placed the focus on the rapid radicalization of a young Muslim, in ‘ Young Ahmed ‘, Loach denounced new and harmful business models such as that of delivery men employed as false self-employed, in ‘Sorry We Missed You’. Veteran French director Robert Guediguian also points out the problems of job insecurity for the middle class and warns of the harshness of these current hiring models, in this case that of an Uber driver.
‘Gloria Mundi’ is the title of Guediguian’s new film stream, in Spanish theaters since this Friday, November 29, starring desperate characters in the face of the dramatic work situation and the lack of empathy that surrounds today’s society. A humble family from Marseille who is moved by two events: the birth of Gloria and the release from prison of her grandfather.
The professions of these characters are diverse, from an Uber driver to a cleaner, to a sales assistant in a trial period, reflecting with them the dark panorama of employment. The only ones who seem to be doing better are Gloria’s uncles, who have opened a business of buying and selling second-hand products, although they have chosen to submit to the rules of the prevailing wild capitalism.
” The master’s discourse is also the slave’s discourse. Even in the most disadvantaged classes, the incredible thing is that they endorse that master’s discourse and use words like ‘leadership’. It is tremendous that this is currently happening, it did not happen before,” he commented. Guediguian on his way through the Seville Film Festival, where the film competed in the Official Section.
The director introduces a long string of problems that he observes in present-day France stemming from the prevailing economic system: growing xenophobia in the face of rivalry for a job, drug use in order to withstand the hectic pace of our fast-paced lives, addiction to success and obsession with ascending, lack of empathy with others, division in the workers’ struggle… All of them exposed with an evident political reading and spilled like a cocktail shaker, shaking to the maximum power, sometimes lacking more delicacy.
The person in charge of titles such as ‘ Marius and Jeannette ‘ (1997) or ‘ The city is quiet ‘ (2000) reunites his usual team of actors, including Gerard Meylan, Jean-Pierre Darrousin, Anaïs Demoustier and Ariane Ascaride (his wife in real life and awarded as best actress for this film in the last edition of the Venice Festival ).
“The cast works like a theater company, it does not matter if you are the protagonist or secondary, what counts is the ensemble”, explains Guediguian, who also clarifies which of the characters he most identifies with: “Without a doubt the character closest to me It is Gloria’s grandfather, the one who gets out of prison (and embodies Meylan). He represents what I think, how I see the world. In other films, other characters symbolize me. “
Robert Guediguian: “I demand violence to change things.”
Robert Guediguian and the protagonists of ‘Gloria Mundi’ in Venice
In the same way, he made clear the dissimilarities of his films despite having identical actors and the same city to film: ” I have always tried to make films different from each other. I always work with the same cast and keep the setting of my stories unchanged in Marseille, but I try to vary in each work “.
Far from the luminosity and optimism emanating from his previous film, ‘ The house by the sea ‘ (2017), ‘Gloria Mundi’ is somber and dark, surrounded by fatalism and disappointment. “The film is very black but that does not mean that it does not believe that there are islets of hope, I know many young people who go against everything exposed here. Therefore, although in ‘Gloria Mundi’ I wanted to show pessimism I do believe in hope and this is found in the baby that gives the title its name ”.