Unemployment breeds soul-searching in “Labour Equals Freedom,” the genially downbeat social fable of a Slovene prole who survives a midlife crisis sparked by encroaching European Union membership. Made-for-TV pic from accomplished helmer Damjan Kozole, whose “Spare Parts” was in the 2003 Berlin competish, has made the fest circuit.
A machinist made redundant via the ripple effect of EU membership, Pero (Peter Musevski, quite good) is an easygoing father who bears burdens with weary reluctance. Told the jobless have no friends by a dismissive army buddy to whom he applies for work, Pero confesses severe depression to civil servant wife Vera (Natasa Barbara Gracner). Initially reassuring, she eventually leaves him. Yet Pero perseveres, befriending the neighbor (Manca Dorrer) who interrupts his inept suicide attempt, lucking into a decent job and bumbling through a date. Kozole creates a mood of affectionate cynicism, with shrewd subtexts tallying foibles of contempo society. Tech credits are focused, with Igor Leonardi’s spirited score a plus.