08 19 Oct '24
Ddfab909 3969 414c 896b 3fa37cf74d9e

Thierry Michel, Christine Pireaux

Chronique des saisons d'acier

Edition 1981
93' - 1981 - Dialogue: French
Director: Thierry Michel, Christine Pireaux Composer: Marc Hérouet
Remo di Matteo or the "time of unemployment"
Jean-Claude Bomal or the "time of the depression"
Henri Cornélisse or the "time of the four-shift system"
François Lempereur or the "time of the bilan"
Guillaume Dekkers or the "time of tranquility"

The central idea of CHRONIQUE DES SAISONS D'ACIER is time, but a time that was experienced by each person in certain work situations. For some, unemployment, for others, retirement, work or illness. Against the backdrop of the crisis, in the Liège steelworks, we see five workers from four generations. Five characters, five destinies linked to the ups and downs of unemployment to work, of work to retirement, with its inhuman rhythms of work and week-ends, working hours and leisure, this time of idleness and violence where wishes, urges and fantasies can finally be expressed freely. Free time to occupy oneself or to meet, either in front of the television, or around the family table, or in the dance hall, or on the main roads of motorized suburbs, or alone in search of oneself in the forests of the Ardennes. Five testimonies content to live day after day in a daily struggle to control his destiny. They are forgotten heroes of this struggle, each one has his hidden dreams, each one tries to survive in the face of a crushing, an editing of his own destiny by an industrial order.

CHRONIQUE DES SAISONS D'ACIER is a film that asks questions about daily working-class life in the early 1980s in a region uncertain of its future. Individual fatigue increasingly takes over from the social struggle, faith in labor and moral values diminishes in favor of other values still in ferment. The film is a portrait of the working class, marked by 150 years of industrial history, and in tow by Cockerill. Thierry Michel and Christine Pireaux have not been able to make a "happy" film in a period and in a region affected by the crisis. It is accusatory and stinging, paying more attention to fatigue, illness, boredom and the revolt of the worker than to the reasons to hope and love. More than once this pessimism reminds us of a materialistic prison. And yet the film is not as black as it looks; there is still room for wedding parties, for going out. It is precisely the two youngest people who still possess a certain hope for a future; the older ones are tired, fed up with the business. They are never models, they are themselves. Take Remo di Matteo, for example. 19 years old, son of an Italian miner, lives with his parents, is unemployed and lead-singer in the rock group Acétylène. Among other things, he states: "I don't want to go to the factory all my life, and then see nothing but factory walls. Thank you. Without the punks, nothing would have happened in recent years. They said salut and a living to everything. That's nice." A second worker, Henri Comélisse is 49, divorced, has worked in the steel for 27 years as an electrician, still works shifts. During week-ends and vacations, he goes out into nature. "I love the High Fens, the wind, the ever-changing light, the colors of the plants, the songs of the birds. The worker becomes human again, once he leaves his gray surroundings behind. He revives.

CHRONIQUE DES SAISONS D'ACIER is a very well made film, often very moving, both by its characters and by the photogeny of its industrial and natural landscapes. One is seduced by the search for contrasts: the hell of the steelworks versus the peace and color of the Ardennes. A film that does not look at the problem of industrial stocks from an economic or financial point of view, but rather from a human one. What will these people do when there are no more jobs? The young people, who were born in steel and have to withdraw from steel, can still think of a personal reaction, make their ideas known; for the older people there is only a wait and see, they must already consider themselves as socially "assisted".

Image gallery

Ddfab909 3969 414c 896b 3fa37cf74d9e

Credits

Director

Thierry Michel, Christine Pireaux

Composer

Marc Hérouet

Scenario

Thierry Michel, Christine Pireaux

Director of Photography

Alain Marcoen

More information

Dialogue

French

Countries of production

Belgium

Year

1981

Stay up to date, subscribe to our newsletter

Do you want to stay up to date with festival news, our year-round activities, the films and the filmmakers?