The employer is a young man from a middle-class family. His baby is unwell. The employee is an even younger man and is in urgent need of his job, so that he can support his new family. The relationship between the two men begin.
The Employer and the Employee is the latest submission for Uruguay and the director, Manolo Nieto, has created a masterful and delicate film. It takes place in Northern Uruguay, close to the border with Brazil, where people are few and far between, and there’s nothing but grassy pastures with hilly fields. And two young men: Rodrigo and Carlos.
Rodrigo, a landowner, is in a desperate need for a worker, since rain has potentially damaged 20% of his crops, and possibly all his profits for this season. With more rain in the forecast, he’s in a desperate need for a harvester. Carlos, an 18 year old with a wife and child, is in a need for a job, not only to support his family but to continue his passion for horses and horse-racing.
And there it begins the intricate relationship between these two young men. Two worlds mesh into one. Two families, two social classes and two ways of seeing the world. The events unfold little by little, marking a tension that increases while we wait for the turning point. And then, everything does fall apart.
Nahuel Perez Biscayart and Cristian Borges are extraordinary as Rodrigo and Carlos. The cinematography is stunning: the green of the meadows, the blue of the sky. It feels like there isn’t a town or city for a thousand miles. The editing is crisp and everything has a purpose. The film shows the delicate relationship that occurs between bosses and their workers. We’ve all experienced this dynamic, whether we’ve been the employer or the employee. We are all simply trying to make a living, support our families, follow our dreams, fulfill our ambitions and our goals. We are all trying our best. But few of us have ever been in a situation that involves the most unimaginable tragedy. There’s no correct way to handle a situation when a misfortune occurs. Who is at fault, when both the employer and the employee are at blame? There’s no correct answer to that question. And we’re left just thinking.