Finding a job is never easy but once you have it, a lot of pressure is taking off your shoulders, especially when it comes to financial stability. Sadly, it can be taken away much more easily than you’ve found it and that can have disastrous consequences. Not only for you but also for your co-workers, family, and friends around you. Director Rémi Allier (“Zinneke”, “Jan”) shows those consequences from a very unusual but unique perspective. The result is a very rough and violent but also innocent and sweet film.
Troubled times are ahead for the employees at a chemical plant factory. Due to the closure of the factory, they’re about to lose their jobs. They’re incredibly angry, upset and insecure about what the future will bring. The person they’re all blaming for it is acting manager François (Steve Driesen). Things are getting out of hand and this sadly also has an impact on François’ two-year-old son Léo (Emile Moulron Lejeune and Camille Fleury-Létienne). Bruno (Jan Hammenecker) is one of the outraged employees and decides to take drastic actions. He kidnaps Léo as a desperate way of negotiation. Now, both François and Bruno have to face an upcoming and hard battle. Bruno as the employee but now also as the kidnapper who would do anything to keep his job. François has to try and get the best deal for his employees but at the same time, his personal life is also being put under pressure due to the abduction of his son. The little Léo is caught right in between that battle and has to endure a hard time no small child should ever go through. What will happen to everyone involved in this tragedy?
It was with co-writers Julien Guetta (“Lana Del Roy”, “Tapette”) and Gilles Monnat (“Kitsch Panorama”) that Allier wrote this gripping and affecting story. While it seems just another short story about people losing their jobs, many different elements make from “Little Hands” such a unique one.
The first one is the emotional connection that’s being created between the leading character and the audience. It’s a connection that immediately starts one when getting to meet little Léo. During the making of this movie, director Allier decides to cast two lovely children as Léo and we really can’t tell the difference between them. Both Emile and Camille charm us with their wonderful appearance and show their loveable and innocent side in this poignant movie. He also wants the audience to see and feel how Léo experiences this difficult time and that’s why this short movie was partly shot from Léo’s point of view. This unique way of shooting “Little Hands” is visible during the abduction and when the point of view is used less, this movie still focusses a lot on Léo, who represents love, happiness, and family.
A second element of why this film will have you in its power constantly is the great performance of the all-round cast. Hammenecker (“Mr. Nobody”, “The Family”) brings every emotional aspect of his character beautifully to the screen. Whether it’s as the disgruntled, angry and reckless employee and abductor or as the lovely man who’s capable of caring and loving. As the head-strong and responsible manager but also a distraught and heartbroken father, we see Driesen (“Prise au piège”, “Section Zéro”) giving an moving and delightful performance.
After being part of the line up of prestigious film festivals such as Telluride Film Festival and Rhode Island International Film Festival and after winning the Best Short Film César Award, it’s now time that “Little Hands” gets even more recognition. We certainly hope that more critics and audiences find their way to this movie as Allier made a stunning and unique film that’s big on captivating performances and emotions.
Liselotte Vanophem, Just Celebrity Magazine Film and Celebrity Reporter