A Human Condition (1974)

LOUIS MALLE, RENE VAUTIER

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.  

Original title:  Humain, trop Humain

Alternate title:  Human, Too Human

France, 1974.  .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Film Editing by

Louis Malle trains his documentary camera on a Citroen factory for soothing, captivating results.  There’s very little spoken dialogue in the film, it is mostly observations of the workers operating the machinery on the assembly line that eventually results in a finished automobile.  This factory exists beyond a lot of modern day rules and regulations so you see a lot of casual clothing and smoking on the floor, while the workflow moves at a healthy but not breakneck speed.  There is the feeling that machines will eventually take the place of people as Malle frequently emphasizes images of industry in motion rather than people, closing up on hands creating things, while the footage of crowds on the sales floor seem to be a different kind of machinery in motion.  There is still room for personal impressions, though: the dude with his open-to-the-naval uniform smoking cigarettes while attaching car doors is a character regardless of whether or not he gets to say anything, while there is a sense of easy camaraderie amongst the workers who are occupied but not obsessed or ruled by their work.

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