Review: ‘Into Our Hands’

The employees of a French lingerie factory take the plunge into managing the business themselves in "Into Our Hands."

The employees of a French lingerie factory take the plunge into managing the business themselves in “Into Our Hands,” Mariana Otero’s mildly intriguing, fly-on-the-wall workplace documentary. With all the recent news about Frenchies on strike, it’s heartening to see a group of blue-collar femmes trying to keep their company afloat, even if it means putting in extra hours or reaching into their own pockets. But pic’s hands-off approach, which lacks needed commentary, provides such a monotonously micro vision of its subject that it may elude viewers altogether. Fest slots beckon following a modest Gallic release.

As in her previous docu, “Story of a Secret,” but without that film’s engaging personal backstory, Otero offers just the facts but zero embellishment as she focuses her low-tech DV rig on the workers of a textile manufacture outside Orleans. When the biz is nearly bankrupt, they decide, for better or worse (through more the latter), to form a co-op and take over. With plenty of chatter but little raw economic data, it’s hard to grasp the challenges at hand, though an inspired musical-comedy sequence provides a late catharsis.

Into Our Hands



A Diaphana Distribution release of an Archipel 33 production, with participation of Centre National du Cinema et de l'Image Animee. (International sales: Doc & Film Intl., Paris.) Produced by Denis Freyd. Directed by Mariana Otero.


Camera (color, DV-to-35mm), Otero; editor, Fanny Danche; music, Fred Fresson. Reviewed at Le Lucenaire 1, Paris, Nov. 1, 2010. Running time: 86 MIN.
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