22-year-old Frank, a student in Paris at an major business school, returns to his parents' home while he continues his professional training in the factory where his father has worked for 30 years. After years of independence, Frank renews his ties with his family, much to his father's joy. At the factory, Frank takes up a position in the Human Resources sector. With all he has learned at college, Frank initially feels confident that he'll be able to shake up the conservative management who's having a hard time negotiating cuts to working hours. He approaches his task with enthusiasm… until discovering that his efforts are serving as a screen to restructuring plans whereby 12 people, including his father, will lose their jobs. Frank splits from management and leaks the news to the union, who immediately go on strike. He wants his father to get involved in the struggle, but the older man, who'd put all his pride in his son's social success, refuses to join the movement. The violent confrontation which ensues will oblige both of them to reflect upon their relationship, while confronting the reality of their own lives, past and present.
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“Human Resources” admirably blends two types of tale and temporality. First there’s the descriptive one of life in a factory and office, with its share of underhanded dealing and daily aggravations, rarely depicted so accurately on film. Then there’s the symbolic one of a tragic heritage, of a genealogical principle that is dictated and warped by social status, in a context of loyalty versus disloyalty.
Charles Tesson (excerpt from an article in “Cahiers du cinéma” no. 542)