I got the definite impression in the film that he was resigned at the end to be miserable forever. Not that he was intending to learn a new trade from within his horrible job and get out, as Olmi did. Everybody in the film he emotionally connected to or that gave him joy or identity was separated from him, and he was surrounded by angry career mongers.
I think it explains a lot for me to learn that Peabody worked in an accounting firm for many years.
I got the definite impression in the film that he was resigned at the end to be miserable forever.
When she doesn’t show up, he stays at the party.
I took that to mean he had found himself worthy of socializing – he was somebody – a man with lifetime employment prospects.
“If you hate your job that much find one you can tolerate. "
Ha! Have you ever worked at a place like that?
i’m a director w/ an office day job. it is in my instance, easily mockable, swimming in mundane bureaucratic details, strange idiosyncracies, odd personnel etc. I don’t loathe it but there’s no question that there’s plenty of things to mock. To answer the question of your post, I’d say some directors understand normal jobs and some do not. but it doesn’t make someone a better director per se if they come from poverty or privilege
I’m terribly sorry if I come off as a total prick. I didn’t mean to offend anybody and yes, I was being ridiculous. I do apologize.
Damn, I need to stop posting here while sitting drunk at an airport bar!
Seriously, now that I’m sober…
" I’d encourage young apsiring filmmakers to work some sort of job (as opposed to waiting on art grants that will probably never come, or daddy’s money) either during or after their studies. As Jirin said, there is a certain self-sufficiency in working and raising your own money. At the same time, a lot of work out there is a crock, and I do believe that the culture of work needs to change, but if nobody went to “regular work” anymore, there would still be a need for some kind of work and self-sufficiency. We can’t all be university lecturers. There is a need for people at least some of the time to get their hands dirty, something that I think is lost on slightly more “privileged” classes."
Ok, I’m not very good at explaining things, but what I wrote initially on my last post based on your statement above is just my opinion, overall impression regarding young people and labor in general, and as you said, the “privileged class”.
We live in the same world, but you’re in Australia and Iive in the U.S. where blue collar work, esp. factory jobs are almost like a thing of the past, so perhaps my outlook is different. I’m also an immigrant, and just speaking from my experience.
Blue collar work is not exclusive to migrants and lower class, we all know that. But let’s focus on “aspiring filmmakers” since it’s around the OP subject. This may sound stereotypical, but generally, college kids (art students) wouldn’t want backbreaking work either. Why would they? The hours are long, it’s physically demanding, and let’s face it, for the kids it don’t look “cool”. Try and ask a typical U.S. college studenst to choose from a pool of possible jobs to fill, while they go to school- say working in a warehouse, driving a truck, food service, construction, office internship, retail, working in a cafe/ bookstore/ record store etc… Chances are they will pick white-collar related, retail, cafe or unpaid internship over a better paying blue collar work. I’m not judging but I wouldn’t blame ‘em. I’m sure working as an unpaid intern sucks too, but they may see it as less soul-sucking, and a good source of material if one is a film student.
A good friend of mine works as a supervisor in a large warehouse for a major supermarket chain. He said despite the current economic crisis, they’re still having difficulties hiring employees, even with good pay and health benefits. Even placing ads online and working directly with the local EDD, most unemployed folks and students still choose to work on a more white collar environment. The ones who tried only lasted a week. In his own words- …“some folks are just not cut-out for this kind of work. I’d rather hire mature workers and minorities who are willing to break sweat.”
“Have you ever WORKED in a blue collar environment, Night Shift?”
To answer your question- yes, I’ve worked blue collar jobs, and was once a damn proud union member. As a matter of fact, my life work experience is bleeding blue (and brown): Painter, window cleaner, warehouse stocker, driver, hospital porter, bricklayer, loading cargo at UPS dock, bicycle messenger, cement mixer/breaking rocks, seasonal fruit picker… sailor/ soldier for 7 years… to list a few. My career is in design and illustration- I work on those in the evenings, and that’s not really considered art but ‘actual work’.
BRIAN P- “…I’d say some directors understand normal jobs and some do not. but it doesn’t make someone a better director per se if they come from poverty or privilege.”
The Crowd (1928)
The Apartment (1960)
The Rapture (1991)
When she doesn’t show up, he stays at the party. I took that to mean he had found himself worthy of socializing – he was somebody – a man with lifetime employment prospects.
This. Il Posto isn’t about the hopelessness of the workplace. It’s about the hopelessness of being so anti-social that you’d be miserable anywhere. It’s a character study. The protagonist is never going to be an alpha male film director because he doesn’t have it in him. His victory, the film’s optimism, is that he stayed at the party.
^^ HOLY CRAP! I’d rather shovel cow dung all day…
Cool thread, Jirin.
I can’t really comment on the film, as I haven’t seen it. But I wanted to comment on two other questions you seem to raise—1) do filmmakers understand “normal jobs?” b) do most people feel stifled or unhappy about their work and workplaces?
As for #1, I think that’s an interesting question, and I guess there are several ways I’m thinking about this. For one thing, some films deal directly with a work or workplace. For example, Blue Collar dealt with directly with the working conditions of an automobile plant. For these films, I’d imagine that the filmmakers generally do a decent job—or at least the changes will be a lot greater. (Without being familiar with those workplaces, I don’t think I could answer that question.)
There are other films where the workplace and specific work is not the main focus of the film. Maybe cop movies could be like this. The workplace of the cops is in the backgroud, while solving the crime/catching the villain is in the foreground. That might be the best example, but hopefully you get my drift. Anyway, I sense that sometimes filmmakers can get lazy about the details of the work and workplace in these type of films. If people agree with this, I’d be interested in hearing some examples. (I can’t really think of any at the top of my head.)
As for question #2, my guess is that more people could relate to that then not—hence, the appeal of Dilbert and Office Space. I think it also depends on the person. For creative people like the director, I could see them having a miserable time in a corporate or government office. Living hell, more like it.
I don’t think that the US is very different from Australia in terms of its blue collar composition. It’s not apples and oranges. Australia has also sent a lot of production jobs overseas as has the US, but the number of factory jobs in both countries is still pretty high.
A lot of university kids complain about the eleven bucks an hour they get from waiting tables. They must live on a different planet. How much do they think they are worth in a job where the toughest “skill” to master is making coffee? Balancing multiple trays and plates on their arms? They ought to try unloading 25kg boxes from a truck in an environment without air conditioning.
Film students may not like the long hours and hard work of blue collar work, but let’s face it, it would prepare them for filmmaking/directing, which isn’t exactly a cushy job in itself.
OK, I just saw this. I must say that Robert’s reaction closely resembles my own. To me, this film isn’t really about bureaucracy (although the film does spend some time on this). Instead, the film seems to mainly be about a young man who has just gotten his first job, and it felt more like a personal memoir, very similar to Neil Simon’s plays (e.g., Brighton Beach Memoirs, etc.) If there is any critique of bureaucracy the tone is humorous, even charming and touching. For example, there’s a section that shows the private lives of the clerks, creating a humane portrait of these characters. One seems to writing a novel, the other likes to sing arias, one might be having an affair, etc. To say this making a negative comment on bureaucracy seems to be a stretch—or a least the way Jirin describes the film seems to be a stretch.
Remember also that Domenico’s pursuit of love occupies a significant portion of the film—and the filmmaker portrays this as a sweet memory, imo.
Jirin said: In the film, a boy is sucked into a government job and his father immediately tells him “Why do you need books anymore?” All his personal effects are immediately taken away from him, and all his coworkers’ ultimate goal in life is to advance to the front desk. The message: All his freedom is gone, everything unique about him is gone, sucked into an emotionless, lifeless system.
Wait. Are you sure you’re not confusing scenes? I don’t remember Domenico’s father saying, “You don’t need books anymore” or his books being taken away. There is a scene in the beginning where Domenico grumbles to his younger brother about the brother taking his book strap. Their mother yells from the other room that she let the brother have it because Domenico no longer needs it (because he’s no longer in school). Domenico’s personal effects weren’t taken away.
But there is a scene where a clerk’s personal effects are taken away—but that’s because he seems to have died. (This is the guy who seems to be an aspiring novelist.) Then the clerk in the back of the room wants to get to the front seat, but other clerks beat him to a punch. (This scene is portrayed in slapstick sort of way.)
I think Jirin got this confused with Michael Haneke’s Der siebente Kontinent or something.
In any case Jirin, I think what’s being critiqued in these sorts of films are the overall societal values rather than the actions of specific characters.
A few points, I’m sure you have considered but I’ll toss them in.
1) What makes you think Olmi never had that sort of job? He is telling a story. Not all stories we tell have to tie in to what a director does or does not do.
2) One of the primary themes of books and movies is that people are obliged to work for ‘the man’ and cannot pursue dream jobs or dream lives because they have to make ends meet, get married and support a family, settle down and live like everyone else. Nothing new and oh so true.
3) Every artist knows they are bound to their art. Therefore artists, for the most part, do not talk about freedom with regards to what they do with their time. When they talk about freedom they mean the freedom to choose between life as an artist or life at a desk job. So filmmakers make the same distinction.
4) A desk job working to make money so you can eat or living as a painter on your time, as your own boss and making enough to live on. Guess which one is considered ‘soul crushing’? Hint; It’s the one that you do because you have to not because you want to.
5) I don’t think desk jobs are seen as ‘evil’ per se. They are instead seen as the daily toil many of us do while working for someone else.
6) If everyone only pursued their dream job then many more would be unemployed because there aren’t enough dream jobs for 6 billion people. Plus no one would then do the work most of us dislike or hate. So many people settle.
7) A movie that showed a guy going to work each day and living a normal happy life without conflict or situations to deal with would be sort of a dull movie. So anytime work is the primary theme or plot point of a movie it is shown as being an issue.
What Francisco said. People who say things like why don’t you find another job if you hate this one so much without irony are those who don’t understand normal jobs. I’ve had several different job, white and blue collar, and I’ve not liked a single one. It doesn’t matter what you do when it’s always going to be alienated labour, too long hours for not enough pay. Mark mentions about waiters and waitresses should be grateful for 11 dollars an hour for unskilled labour, which is odd because warehouse work is considered unskilled too. Besides, isn’t that what Il Posto is all about, we’re worth far more than our measly pay packets at the end of the month? If it wasn’t for the people waiting tables, taking deliveries or sitting in offices, work would come to a halt.