TIFF Review: Her Job
By Nina Kalirai
Her Job is a true story by Greek director Nikos Labôt. It is a film filled with anger, frustration, happiness and freedom all at the same time. The feature length film falls perfectly in line with TIFF’s commitment to increase the opportunity for women both behind and in front of the camera.
© Homemade Films | YouTube
The film follows its main character Panayiota, a married woman with two children. Panayiota is your stereotypical stay at home mom, who cares for her children, cooks and cleans. However, Panayiota and her husband are both unemployed due to a recession in Greece.
We see the relationship between Panayiota and her husband more transparently when she gets a job and he is still left unemployed. He consistently puts her down, due to her lack of education, and restricts her from working overtime shifts or hanging out with friends. During one scene in particular we see Panayiota’s husband physically push and shove her up against a door, after she stands up for herself and tells him to stop speaking to her in such a demeaning manner.
In an exclusive interview with VIBE 105 Correspondent Nina Kalirai, Nikos explains what made him want to turn this story into a feature length film, rather than what he is comfortable with, such as documentaries:
“I wanted to channel the emotions of the woman the film was based off of. During the first month and a half of coming up with the idea for the film, I thought of doing the documentary style, but I find it’s very challenging when you try to create your reality using a documentary. With the feature length film, you can feel that it’s intimate. I think it goes to say that it pulls on the heart strings more when it’s fictional. I tried to do something in the middle. I found this out during preparation with the actors, and during editing.”
The setting of the film takes place in Greece during a recession, as previously mentioned, at Panayiota’s home and workplace, which is in the mall as a cleaning lady. Panayiota is so eagerly determined to provide for her family that she constantly signs whatever papers her supervisor gives her, even though she is unable to read. This eventually leads to her unknowingly signing her own resignation papers, similar to a handful of her other colleagues, leading to a visually upsetting emotional reaction from her.
Nikos also explains the message that he would like the viewer to take away from the film, saying:
“I could say that it’s that in our ordinary life we forget about the present and we’re always somewhere else. We’re in the past or in the future, looking for our dreams. We don’t stay here in the present. It’s important that when we finally manage to do that, that we feel ourselves…we feel presence. We understand better, we physically feel better, we communicate better with others and that’s how we have chemistry. Unfortunately, now a days, with the way we’re living, that is rare. I would like the spectator to take with them the feeling of what it’s like to be present and that there is a certain strength inside us, that moves us to better understand things.”
For more insight on Her Job, TIFF has the exclusive Q&A below:
© TIFF Talks | YouTube
Her Job is a film about Panayiota’s journey in finding her independence as woman in a complex domestically restrained relationship.
*Editor’s note: Her Job was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival ‘18