09 20 Oct '24
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Manu Bonmariage

Du beurre dans les tartines (Bread and Butter)

Edition 1981
79' - 1980 - Drama, Documentary - Dialogue: French
Director: Manu Bonmariage Composer: Jean Chabot Beton
Best known as cameraman for the RTBF series FAITS DIVERS by Jean-Jacques Péché. Then became a realiser at RTBF for many national and international reports. As a 16mm filmmaker he made a.o. HAY PO'L DJOU ('79), BIEN TRAVAILLER, BIEN S'AMUSER ('79), RUE DE L'AMOUR DES AMIS ('80) (with Hugo Pratt), LA VIE CONTINUE ('80).

This social reportage (documentary film) is based on the "Centre Bruxellois de l'Audio-Visuel" (GBA), which included in its production schedule a film on the problems of small businesses in difficulty. The first thing they looked for was a strong and convincingly documented point of view, close to reality.

DU BEURRE DANS LES TARTINES can be considered as a fully-fledged product in the prestigious series of Belgian documentaries of which BORINAGE by lvens and Storck is still the standard-bearer. The film - especially the introductory scenes of marching 1 May demonstrators - is reminiscent of the Ivens Storck film. DU BEURRE DANS LES TARTINES tells the story of daily life in a (Walloon) company, just before important restructuring must take place. It concerns a typical family business in which the father and two sons are the main persons responsible. They find it difficult to accept the new reality of the Centre area without a coal mine. The company has to convert to the production of other electrical drills, and this was not so easy in the booming 1960s. Now that the crisis is here, new solutions must be found to save the company. The equipment is outdated once more, the good will is everywhere, but it is all too easy to think that the company will last forever. And instead of adapting to the new economic needs, one prefers a status quo that irrevocably means defeat in the medium or long term.

DU BEURRE DANS LES TARTINES tries to inform us about the meaning of the word "crisis" in the daily life of workers, employees and patrons, who speak and meet each other every day in a company. In 1980, "crisis" means the proposal, formulated by the board of directors, of the emergence of 30-40% of the staff. How is this possible? A ratio of 50% blue-collar workers to 50% white-collar workers is a mismatch that in no way corresponds to the economic reality of the 1980s. Secondly, there is the lack of diversification, or in other words, all the efforts at this level are belated. DU BEURRE DANS LES TARTINES is a chronicle in which everyone plays their own character. It is a strong film that is as much about reportage as it is about "cinéma-vérite"/"candid-eye cinema". The camera captures everything: workshops, works councils, management councils, where resistance and conflicts emerge and get worse and worse with the crisis and the piling up of difficulties.

A film about the economic and social crisis of a region in decline, which recounts the difficulties faced by more small and medium-sized businesses and brings us into the midst of today's Belgium, that of the workers, the executives and the bosses who are trying to survive as best they can. But above all, DU BEURRE DANS LES TARTINES remains a sociological and political document (in the true sense of the word) and there is no evidence that a more plastic/aesthetic work would not have betrayed the honesty and authenticity of its intentions. Throughout the language of the workers, servants, patrons, one can hear the attachment to work, the social unrest, the lack of understanding of everyone for the difficulties of an economy in a declining region, the waiting for help from outside.

DU BEURRE DANS LES TARTINES is a "Walloon" film, but its problems, its relationships, its fears are universal. In Flanders, in England, in the Federal Republic, too, factories, many of them traditional family businesses, are threatened with closure. Can the problems be solved? A difficult question: there are no ready-made answers. What is certain is that a new world of work must be created in order to fight against the one great "alienator", the one great boss: MONEY.

Image gallery

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Manu Bonmariage


Jean Chabot Beton


Manu Bonmariage, André De Béthune

Director of Photography

Manu Bonmariage


Monique Lebrun

More information



Countries of production




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