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La Moitié gauche du frigo

2000
The Left-Hand Side of the Fridge
90 min., colour, 35mm
French
Director Philippe Falardeau
Producer Luc DéryJosée Roberge
Executive Producer Joseph Hillel
Writer Philippe Falardeau
Cinematographer Josée Deshaies
Editor Sophie Leblond
Sound Sylvain Bellemare
Principal Cast Paul AhmaraniJules PhilipAlexandrine AgostiniMichel LaperrièreStéphane DemersGeneviève Néron
Production Company Qu4tre par Quatre
Christophe (Paul Ahmarani), a thirty-year-old unemployed engineer, and Stéphane (Stéphane Demers), a social activist involved in theatre, are best friends and roommates. Their friendship is put to the test when Stéphane begins making a documentary about Christophe’s search for work, tirelessly following him with a digital video camera as he goes for job interviews, attends career workshops and meets with numerous employment counsellors. What was initially conceived as a short-term project stretches from one tense month to the next as Christophe’s employment prospects diminish and Stéphane turns the documentary into a full-time job.

After finding funding for the documentary, Stéphane hires a crew and grows more obsessive and aggressive in his filming, leaving no part of Christophe’s life off-limits. In addition, Stéphane’s political agenda becomes more apparent as he focuses on corporate greed, downsizing, massive lay-offs and out-sourcing. While Christophe interviews for a job, Stéphane is interrogating the company. Ultimately, Stéphane’s documentary hinders Christophe’s search as well as their friendship.

In his highly entertaining debut feature, Philippe Falardeau playfully mixes politics with humour to make a bold statement about the nature of employment in the era of globalization. With a nod to the films of Michael Moore, the tradition of direct cinema and the current fascination with Reality TV, La Moitié gauche du frigo pokes fun at the industry of unemployment counsellors, advisors and self-help gurus while delving into the emotional consequences that chronic unemployment can have on us and on our relationships.

La Moitié gauche du frigo won the Citytv Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film at the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival®, the Claude Jutra Award at the Genie Awards for Best First Feature and a Jutra Award for Paul Ahmarani’s lead performance.

By Liz Czach
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