BeLonging review by Jen Bush
A Film by Gauthier-Charbel Raad
Director: Gauthier-Charbel Raad
Writers: Gauthier-Charbel Raad and Pamela Saadeh
Cast: Romain Kachaner, Jihad Saade, Jill Alexandria, Gassia Shahabzian, Gauthier-Charbel Raad
Going on a job interview can be nerve wracking. Being uncomfortable in a vulnerable situation is par for the course. In BeLonging this discomfort was taken to a whole new level.
In BeLonging we meet a man who goes on job interviews in the filmmaking industry in four different countries. The interviews take place in French, Lebanese, American and body language. We’ll get to that! This interviewee had a stellar CV (resume), two master’s degrees, a wealth of international experience and was fluent in multiple languages. For most employers this person would be a goldmine and he would be snapped up immediately. These particular interviewers asked wildly inappropriate questions. They focused on ridiculous things like the job seeker’s name, a personal issue with a film he made and questioning how he would fit into American culture. My favorite line in the movie came from the American interviewer who asked the character, “When Easter comes up, will you be angry?” Cultural differences aside, the Easter Bunny and a handful of chocolate eggs can put a smile on anyone’s face! The fourth and final interview was nearly wordless but spoke volumes. The interviewer was blatantly smitten with the interviewee. She stared seductively while batting her eyelashes and suggestively played with her hair before and after she removed her head covering.
BeLonging shows the surreal side of job interviews and the difficulties that can be experienced when there are cultural differences. This 11-minute film is highly relatable because most people have been on job interviews. It contains themes of multi-culturalism and trying to fit in. The filmmaker’s innovative use of camera angles successfully built tension with some extreme close-ups making some of the interviewers menacing. The film was well cast, and the material was well executed by each talented actor. Kudos to Gassia Shahabzian who uttered only two words but got the message across loud and clear. The humor in the film is subtle but you will find yourself laughing at the absurdity of the situations. Job well done! You’re hired!