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Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Grönholm Method (El Método Grönholm)

Programme: Contemporary World Cinema
Director: Marcelo Piñeyro
Country: Spain/Argentina/Italy
Year: 2005
Language: Spanish
Time: 115 minutes
Production Company: Alquimia Cinema/Tornasol Films/Arena Films/Cattleya
Executive Producer: Ricardo García Arrojo
Producer: Francisco Ramos, Gerardo Herrero
Screenplay: Mateo Gil, Marcelo Piñeyro, based on the play by Jordi Galcerán Ferrer
Cinematography: Alfredo Mayo
Editor: Ivan Aledo
Production Designer: Verónica Toledo
Sound: Eduardo Esquide, Polo Aledo
Music: Frédéric Bégin, Phil Electric
Principal Cast: Eduardo Noriega, Najwa Nimri, Eduard Fernández, Pablo Echarri, Adriana Ozores, Ernesto Alterio

Marcelo Piñeyro’s The Grönholm Method is an unexpected departure from the themes of his previous work. Piñeyro’s last two films dealt with society’s underdogs - homosexual bank robbers in Burnt Money and a family on the run from Argentina’s most recent military dictatorship in Kamchatka. In his new film, which is loosely based on a very successful play by Jordi Galcerán Ferrer, Piñeyro explores the dark inner workings of the corporate world.

While the streets of Madrid are filled with anti-globalization demonstrators, candidates are assembled to be put through the final selection process for a single high-level position at a multinational corporation. From the outset, there is a palpably tense, competitive atmosphere among the group. Feelings of distrust increase when they realize they are aspiring for the same position, and that the Grönholm Method (a human resources strategy supposedly imported from the United States) is being used to assess their respective merits. They find themselves pitted against one another in a contest that elicits fear, suspicion, paranoia and betrayal. The humiliation these people are willing to endure or inflict on others for the sake of the job is chilling to witness.

Piñeyro works with an incredible ensemble cast of actors to evoke this claustrophobic rivalry. Young, attractive executives Carlos (Eduardo Noriega) and Nieves (Najwa Nimri) are cold, calculating and unscrupulous. Fernando (Eduard Fernández) and Ana (Adriana Ozores) represent the older generation, insecure about their age and lack of cutting-edge skills. Enrique (Ernesto Alterio), meanwhile, is the typical kiss-ass, continually praising the human resources department’s cryptic techniques.

The Grönholm Method verges on thriller territory by keeping the audience in suspense. How far are the applicants willing to go, and what indignities are they willing to suffer? What new psychological tricks will their would-be employers come up with to push them to their limits? Piñeyro’s timely film shows how this type of “natural” selection truly dehumanizes us in the ceaseless race to get ahead.

MY THOUGHTS
Yowzah, I hope no one in my company gets their hands on this movie – I predict a whole new recruiting method if they do… Another character film (sensing a theme??), I wouldn’t characterize this as a thriller by any means, but it was enthralling to watch as these people enact a “Survivor-type” scenario where it isn’t backstabbing for the most part – it’s stabbing your competition right in the gut while you stare them down. It was a tremendous script with great acting that ensured that the most painful scenes felt honest and, well, painful but not overacted or contrived. It was manipulation and scheming at it’s very best and I’m fascinated that I was able to predict with such accuracy what Nieves, one of the main characters (a bit older than me, but otherwise a blown-out-of-proportion version of me – minus the bathroom scene) would do in each situation.

The reason I chose this film was because I was interested in seeing a movie about the corporate world - the world that I inhabit each workday. I was surprised at how easily I could identify with the characters (although I suspect I’d get voted off pretty quickly). Interesting, but a little frightening too… I’m very glad that I chose this film.

Posted by Brown Eyed Girl :: 12:56 PM :: 1 Comments:

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