thu 01/10/2020

LFF 2013: Grand Central | reviews, news & interviews

LFF 2013: Grand Central

LFF 2013: Grand Central

Personal relations stumble in uneasy French nuclear plant drama

Love away from the atoms: Léa Seydoux and Tahar Rahim

Rebecca Zlotowski catches the blue-collar underbelly of France at dangerous work and uneasy play in her second feature Grand Central. Tahar Rahim from A Prophet leads as Gary, rejected by his family and looking for any job going: it turns out to be maintaining the huge nuclear plant that dominates the film’s Rhône landscape (and provides its title). Camaraderie grows convincingly between veterans and newcomers, as they live together and bond in a caravan park.

Rebecca Zlotowski catches the blue-collar underbelly of France at dangerous work and uneasy play in her second feature Grand Central. Tahar Rahim from A Prophet leads as Gary, rejected by his family and looking for any job going: it turns out to be maintaining the huge nuclear plant that dominates the film’s Rhône landscape (and provides its title). Camaraderie grows convincingly between veterans and newcomers, as they live together and bond in a caravan park.

The drama of the hazardous decontamination work has its own rules: preconditions for workers include the fact that if their personal radiation levels rise above the norm, then they’re out of a job. It’s easy to fiddle, however, as Gary discovers, though he’s doing it because he wants to stay around, close to Karole (Léa Seydoux of Blue Is the Warmest Colour, main picture above, with Rahim), with whom he’s carrying on an illicit affair in the fecund greenery down by the river. But she’s attached to the heavy-set team leader Toni (Denis Mencochet), so trouble is brewing with the same threat that the reactor itself emits nearby.

The film's central romance element convinces rather less than the setting itself with its details of everyday working life under safety stress. Grand Central shows nicely how an impromptu working clan grows up to provide a sense of temporary belonging for strangers from the wrong sides of various tracks, and how it can be broken apart. A jazz-fusion score credited to Rob adds some lovely notes of atmosphere.  

Overleaf: watch the trailer for Grand Central

Preconditions for workers include the fact that if their personal radiation levels rise above the norm, then they’re out of a job

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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