copyright 2011, Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media
Jump Cut
, No. 53, summer 2011

Global capital’s false choices in the films of Laurent Cantet

by Jessica Livingston

Laurent Cantet has emerged as a major film director in the last decade, writing and directing Ressources humaines/Human Resources (1999), Emploi du Temps/Time Out (2001), Vers le Sud/Heading South (2005), and Entre Les Murs/The Class (2008). His films have received both critical and popular attention in France and globally, winning numerous awards on the international and art-house festival circuits and attracting attention for the political relevance of his subject matter. Cantet describes his films as dealing with “how the nature of intimacy and private life is shaped by social issues and the way social issues are connected to private life,” which is revealed through their consistent engagement with the subjects of work, class, and leisure.[1] [open endnotes in new window]

Film scholars Martin O’Shaughnessy in The New Face of Political Cinema and Will Higbee in “The Social-Realist Melodramas of Laurent Cantet” have included Cantet within a new generation of politically committed filmmakers in France.[2] Following the massive public sector strikes in 1995, films addressing the changing socioeconomic conditions of the country began emerging in the late 1990s and 2000s.[3] The term “New Realism” is loosely used to characterize these films that explore themes such as unemployment, immigration, and cultural exclusion and give voice to marginalized minorities.[4] Unlike the films of other New Realist filmmakers, Cantet’s films portray people both at the margins and at the center of the economic system. Interestingly, each of Cantet’s four films portrays a different sector of the global economy: a working-class factory in Human Resources; a laid-off, middle-class consultant in Time Out; the tourist industry in the Third World in Heading South; and Parisian multi-ethnic immigrant students in France in The Class. A trajectory throughout all these films is their understanding of global capital—more specifically, of neoliberalism, the political and economic philosophy of free markets and free trade that dominated conventional wisdom in the late twentieth century.

Stylistically, Cantet’s films share traits with other “New Realist” films. To varying degrees in his different films, Cantet uses a naturalized mis-en-scene, shoots on location and improvises dialogue throughout the filming process. He provides basic guidelines or a rough script to the actors, they improvise, and then he re-writes the script including their improvisations.[5] All of his films include both professional and non-professional actors. He states that some roles

“can be greatly enriched by the experience of the ‘real people’ who embody them…Non-professional actors walk on to the set carrying their own past, with a block of reality around them which the film must integrate. I’m interested in capturing things rather than in fabricating them.”[6]

New Realist films, however, do more than just “capture” reality. O’ Shaugnessy addresses the new use of melodrama in the contemporary context. While melodrama has typically not been used for radical purposes because of its focus on the individual and its emphasis on emotional involvement, O’Shaugnessy argues that its use is productive in the contemporary context because it “allows both for an acerbic critique of the individual and for a dramatization of the monstrosity of the current order.”[7] Both O’Shaugnessy and Higbee highlight the elements of melodrama in Cantet’s films.

These elements are easily recognizable in Cantet’s first film, Human Resources (1999), which focuses on a working-class family in which the son has taken a management intern position at the manufacturing firm where his father has worked on the assembly line for thirty years. The son, Franck, wants to introduce the thirty-five hour workweek. The film’s release coincided with the government’s introduction of reduced working hours. Due to the timeliness of its theme, Human Resources attracted a large audience when it premiered on television on the night prior to being released in the theater as part of its co-production deal with Arte.[8]

Stylistically, Human Resources uses the pseudo-documentary approach frequently employed by New Realist filmmakers. Aside from Jalil Lespert who plays Franck, the rest of the cast is non-professional.[9] The mis-en-scene is largely naturalistic. The film was shot in actual locations with naturalized lighting and only diegetic sound. In narrative and setting, Human Resources focuses on the mundane, everyday world. The majority of the film takes place either at the modest working-class home of Franck’s parents or at the factory. There are numerous shots of the factory floor, including several long shots of Franck walking its length while surrounded by loud buzzing. Higbee notes that some elements of the mise-en-scene do take on symbolic weight, such as the bunk beds that have been placed in Frank’s old bedroom for the grandchildren indicating that he has “outgrown and been displaced from the working-class family home.”[10]

Time Out (2001) further explores the stresses of the neoliberal workplace, simultaneously exploring the anxiety of being laid-off as well as the desperate desire not to have to conform to the corporate workplace. After being laid-off from his position as a consultant, middle class Vincent lies to his family and friends, pretending that he is a UN bureaucrat working on Third World development. Newspaper reviewers immediately drew comparisons between the premise of Time Out and the infamous 1993 case of Jean-Claude Romand, who had pretended to be a medical doctor at the World Health Organization. When Romand’s family discovered that he was living a second life, he murdered them and unsuccessfully attempted suicide. A bestselling novel based on Romand’s prison account was released in 2000, just a year prior to Time Out’s release. In contrast to Romand, Vincent does not kill his family. While Cantet acknowledges that the film borrows a few biographical details, he insists that the film is not based on this case. Time Out is less about Vincent than what Vincent cannot accept. In an interview Cantet states,

“I was not interested in a story about an exceptional, psychotic character. On the contrary, [Vincent] appears extremely normal, although he’s in a continual state of denial.”[11]

Time Out uses some of the same stylistic elements as Human Resources. Aside from using professionals for the roles of the central character Vincent (Aurelien Recoing) and his wife Muriel (Karin Viard), Cantet again uses a largely non-professional cast, including Serge Livrozet, who plays a con man, Jean Michel. Livrozet is well-known in France as a former criminal who became a political activist, founding an organization with the philosopher Michel Foucault that advocates for improved prison conditions. Time Out’s opening scene, of which the first shot is a long take of over two minutes, seems to indicate that the film will also use an observational documentary style similar to Human Resources. In contrast to Human Resources though, a musical score accompanies the opening credits in this opening shot; this musical score often takes on a haunting quality throughout the film.

Time Out is a psychological drama presented almost entirely from Vincent’s perspective. The mis-en-scene has a significant role in conveying Vincent’s psychological state. Many of the scenes show Vincent takings refuge in isolated places—alone in his car on the road, in his second home in the Swiss Alps. These landscape scenes contrast with the scenes of Vincent’s supposed place of employment—the glass and steel UN building where a security guard notices that he has been loitering in the building for an hour. Higbee points out that there is a “tension between the naturalistic locations and a more stylized mise-en-scene that mirror’s Vincent’s oscillation between the pressures of the real world and the fantasy life he has created for himself.”[12] The mis-en-scene in Time Out takes on a greater symbolic weight than in any of Cantet’s other films.

Cantet’s third film, Heading South (2005), presents a visual and narrative shift. After developing a reputation for portraying the alienation of white male workers and addressing issues of masculinity within capitalism, Cantet adopts a radically different perspective.[13] Heading South omits white men entirely as it moves out of Europe and into the Third World. It portrays middle-aged white women from the United States, Canada, and Great Britain seeking sexual relationships with young Haitian men while vacationing at resorts on the island. The film is also more theatrical in its style, and the three leading women are all professional actresses, most notably Charlotte Rampling as Ellen. Part of the film was, however, actually shot in Haiti because Cantet insisted that it should be located in a specific place and time.[14]

The narrative is based primarily on the short story “Vers le Sud”/“Heading South” by Haitian exile writer Dany Laferriere.[15] In this short story four characters tell their story in the first person, and the film draws on this literary structure by including four confessional monologues where these characters speak directly to the camera. Cantet makes some notable changes in adapting the story as a screenplay. He adds scenes that address the poverty and repressive violence in Haiti and encourage the audience to view the tourists critically. In addition, the film connects the sexual exploitation to a more general exploitation of Haitian poverty, addressing the political and economic underpinnings of the sex tourist industry in a way that the short story does not.

Cantet’s fourth film, The Class (2008), has received the most critical and popular attention. Having won the Palme d’or at Cannes and being nominated for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, the film has received a lot of praise for its artistic merits. But its political subject matter—the educational system in France—has perhaps attracted more attention. The Class has been referenced in the heated political debate about “the role French schools play in shaping national identity” and the challenges that education presents in France’s multiethnic communities.[16] Cantet set his film in a very precise location: a ‘4e’ class (the equivalent of seventh grade in the U.S.) at the College Francoise Dolto in Paris’ 20th arrondissement, which has a high immigrant population.[17] Cantet uses an entirely non-professional cast in this film. He advertised for student participants in the neighborhood, and the selected cast met once a week for over a year for improvisation workshops.[18] The teacher is played by François Begaudeau, the former teacher turned novelist and film critic, upon whose bestselling autobiographical novel the film is based.

Shot in an observational documentary style, The Class spends most of its time in an actual classroom portraying the personal and cultural tensions between the teacher and the students. Dana Strand points out that the French title for the film, Entre les Murs, translates more literally as “Between the Walls,” suggesting imprisonment. The film includes numerous extreme close-up shots, emphasizing the claustrophobic space of the school.[19] The use of Cinemascope, James S. Williams points out, “further magnif[ies] the sense of claustrophobia in the class” because it reduces both the depth of field and the height of the images.[20] Many of the reviews of the film address Cantet’s choice to use three high-definition cameras.[21] One camera follows the teacher, and two are trained on the class. Having two cameras on the students allows greater freedom for them to improvise and makes the film feel more like a documentary with its long takes.[22] However, much has also been written about the political intentions of this filming style. Rather than shooting for a traditional shot/reverse editing, Cahiers du Cinema describes Cantet’s camera as having a “really neutral position, in the middle of the class.”[23] Although other critics disagree with the claim that the camera placement upsets the power hierarchy, critics generally agree that long takes are less controlling.[24]

While New Realist films can be discussed collectively for sharing similar thematic and stylistic similarities, the filmmakers themselves do not share a common ideological position nor advocate for a political party.[25] Higbee argues that Cantet’s films do not offer solutions to the problems of neoliberalism. Referencing Cantet’s narrative technique in Human Resources that offers a range of perspectives on the 35 hour workweek, Higbee states that Cantet’s films are “devoid of militant didacticism or political sloganeering that prescribes a solution for a given social problem” and references Cantet’s own description for his strategy as “posing questions rather than providing answers.”[26] While Higbee is largely convincing in his assessment that Cantet’s films do not point to solutions, this gesture of posing questions can be read differently.

Cantet’s critical gesture, for example, is reflected in Slavoj Zizek’s productive analysis of the French and the Dutch votes against a European Constitution in spring 2005. In “Against the Populist Temptation” Zizek argues that there were not actually two choices available:

“The French voters were not given a clear symmetrical choice, as the very terms of the choice privileged the yes. The elite proposed to the people a choice that was effectively no choice at all; people were called to ratify the inevitable, the result of enlightened expertise. The media and the political elite presented the choice as one between knowledge and ignorance, between expertise and ideology, between postpolitical administration and the old political passions of the Left and Right.”[27]

The choice offered from the “enlightened European bureaucrats” was to either rubberstamp the project of the European Union or be called racist.[28] Consequently, in France, only the parties on the far right and left—Le Pen’s National Front and the Communists and Trotskyites—took “no” as their official position. For Zizek, the voters’ no was a brutal refusal to be part of an already closed discussion. While the no failed to represent an alternate political vision, Zizek argues that it is a sign “that the debate about what the new Europe shall and should be is still open.”[29]

Drawing on Zizek’s analysis of the French and Dutch votes against the European constitution, we can say that Cantet’s films similarly offer a “No” to the unbearable conditions of contemporary global capitalism. The narratives of Human Resources and Time Out are each presented from the perspective of a middle-class white male in the First World. They give voice to neoliberal rhetoric in order to illustrate its deceptions. They both portray a refusal—the unwillingness to be part of this system. In contrast, Heading South and The Class portray those who live at the bottom of the neoliberal economy and show more directly the clash between the white middle-class First World and the impoverished and exploited Third World. These films portray the devastating costs of global capitalism. By pointing to problems that are seemingly irreconcilable within global capitalism, all four of these films illustrate the false choices the neoliberal economy offers and the inadequacy of these limited options.

Human Resources (1999)

Both Human Resources and Time Out explore the false choices posed by the neoliberal economy’s two competing rhetorics—what David Harvey calls the utopian project and political project of neoliberalism. In A Brief History of Neoliberalism David Harvey claims that neoliberalization can be interpreted

“either as a utopian project to realize a theoretical design for the reorganization of international capitalism or as a political project to re-establish the conditions for capital accumulation and to restore the power of economic elites.”[30]

He argues that neoliberalization is a political project to restore class power that its proponents justify by the theoretical utopianism argument. In both Human Resources and Time Out the central characters use this utopian rhetoric in their roles as managers and consultants for global capitalism. The films, however, reveal that the promises of this neoliberal rhetoric are impossible within the framework of a neoliberal economy.

As mentioned previously, Human Resources focuses on the controversial subject of the thirty-five hour workweek. After introducing the thirty-five hour workweek on a voluntary basis in 1998, it was made compulsory in 2000 in the hope that it would reduce unemployment and stimulate the economy. The majority of workers favored the reduced workweek, which provided the same pay they had previously received for thirty-nine hours of work.[31] It was revoked, however, in 2005 when unemployment remained high and the economy sluggish.[32] The debate over the thirty-five hour workweek is a significant part of the debate over to what extent Europe should compete on neoliberal terms.

Prior to mention of the thirty-five hour workweek in the film, Human Resources foregrounds the issue of control of one’s time. The central character in the film is Franck, who is a young management intern at the factory where his father has worked all of his professional life. On Franck’s first day at the job, his father Jean-Claude explains that they arrive fifteen minutes early in order to have coffee and tell a few jokes because it “starts off the day better.” His co-worker says, “They’d have us start early every day.” There is a clear struggle between the managers and the factory workers over the control of their time. This tension intensifies on the assembly line when a few scenes later a supervisor scolds Jean-Claude for being slow. This concern about control of time also extends to the executives when at lunch one complains that he has been working every weekend.

Human Resources addresses the false choice of either being a flexible laborer in the global economy or facing unemployment. When Franck proposes the thirty-five hour workweek to his managers, his supervisor Chambon says immediately that they cannot create jobs and stay competitive. They already had to dismiss twenty-two workers the previous year. In the first meeting with the union, it becomes clear that the thirty-five hour workweek is a point of tension. The union wants the thirty-five hour week, but in order to create jobs not to eliminate them. The boss Rouet argues that the thirty-five hour workweek will be too costly. He claims that while the firm was profitable this past month they are still unstable. The union representative Arnoux warns the workers: “There’ll be no new jobs. He’ll use the thirty-five hours to cut overtime payments.” While the union is part of the rejection of the terms of neoliberalism, it is not the solution in this film. The labor union is portrayed as somewhat anachronistic, and it does not have control over the terms of the debate.

As a manager Franck both believes and gives voice to neoliberal utopian rhetoric. He tells the union representative that he believes the thirty-five hour week is good for everyone. Franck genuinely desires a dialogue with the workers. He thinks the negotiations “will further implicate employees in company affairs” and that “it will be interesting to give them responsibility.” While Franck talks about advantages for the workers, in terms of the plot his rhetoric actually provides the method for the corporation to gain greater control. In order to find out what the workers want, Franck decides to bypass the union by giving the workers a questionnaire. When Franck writes the questionnaire though, one of his supervisors criticizes his open-ended questions and suggests simplifying it by adding proposals in multiple-choice answers. Workers are left to choose between the managers’ answers rather than give their own. Yet again, a choice is seemingly presented where there is no choice. Issuing the referendum without the union’s approval also has the effect of dividing the union since some workers want to talk to management and some do not.

The limits of this neoliberal utopian rhetoric are clear in Franck’s conversations with both employees and supervisors. The factory workers are skeptical. When Franck discusses his project with his father, Jean-Claude expresses no preference for the thirty-five hour workweek. Franck then gives him the “right” answer and says, “Overall, working hours will drop. It’s an improvement.” His father is suspicious and rightly so. Franck has described the annualization of working hours, which would give Jean-Claude less control over his schedule. He would be subject to the demands of production, working 5 or 6 days one week and 2 or 3 another week. One of Franck’s peers, who also works at a factory, suspects that a reduced workweek will mean a speed-up on the assembly line.

Although Franck comes from a working-class family, he has to relearn the class position of the worker, and he does so through Alain, a young black man who works next to Jean Claude on the assembly line. After refusing to answer Franck’s questionnaire, Alain later confronts Franck to explain that his refusal was not due to lack of interest. He cares about work because he spends half his life at his job even though “factory work is no one’s dream.” While Alain hopes Franck can improve working conditions, he warns that it’s the workers who “have to hang in there.” When Franck later spends the night at Alain’s apartment after a fight with his father, he discovers that Alain has a wife and two infant sons. He admits to Alain that he did not realize that Alain had a family. It’s clear that Franck has not fully thought about Alain’s situation.

Franck’s boss Rouet uses his utopian rhetoric against him. Franck sells his boss on his proposal by claiming,

“The organization of work needs to be reviewed globally for greater efficiency. It’s a challenge. It’s even more exciting because the game is open.”

Rouet replies that that they “will win it together;” but for Rouet winning this issue includes laying off older workers such as Franck’s father. Of course, when Franck confronts his boss for the boss’ double-dealing methods, Rouet points out Franck’s own role. Franck defends his own use of the referendum but realizes that the survey gave his boss “a perfect alibi.” When Franck reveals that he knows about the dismissals, Rouet warns, “Don’t be arrogant. Soon you’ll manage a firm like this. You’ll make the same decisions. That’s what bosses do.” Rouet expects Franck to move from using the utopian neoliberal rhetoric to serving class interests, and to more directly engage in the neoliberal project of restoring class power.

Being upwardly mobile for Franck has significant costs. It means betraying his family and his ideals. Ironically, his father does not want Franck to be true to his working-class roots. Jean Claude wants his son to become a manager and is angry at the young man for risking both his job and future. Franck, however, rejects the terms of class mobility. Instead he takes the information about the layoffs to Alain, who he now realizes is “too young, too cheap to be unprofitable.” Together they use their skills against the company. From his boss’s computer Franck prints the secret letter to the regional employment branch announcing the dismissals and glues copies of the letter to the outside glass door; Alain welds the door shut. Posting the letter effectively works to mobilize the workers, who then go on strike. Jean Claude, however, refuses to go on strike even though he is being laid-off. Only after an emotional confrontation with his son, who is angry about the class shame that his father has instilled in him, does the older man leave the building.

Frank’s rejection of upward mobility means he rejects the undesirable options that neoliberalism offers. In the closing scene, Alain asks Franck, who is now out of a job, what is next for him, and Franck replies that he’s going back to Paris on the train tomorrow. Alain responds, “That’s good. You deserve better. You can’t rot away here. Your place isn’t in this hole.” Franck then returns the question, “So when are you leaving?” Alain looks down and Franck looks away. Their eyes never meet. But Franck persists, “Where’s your place?” The film ends with just the disquieting sounds of outdoor noise. The discomfort in this scene—manifest in their downcast eyes and the disconcerting silence—stems from the unbearableness of the social relations of neoliberalism. While they briefly united in rebellion, they are situated in the necessarily antagonistic positions of manager and factory worker. Neither of them wants the positions offered to them, but where does one go after rejecting the limited and undesirable options available? Not only is there a lack of options within this narrative of neoliberal capitalism, but there is no place for anyone who rejects the privileging of the few.

Time Out (2001)

Cantet’s second film Time Out also reveals the false promises of neoliberalism, in particular its much-touted ability to bring development and prosperity to the Third World. Neoliberal policies such as privatization and liberalization of trade have been promoted for the development of the Third World. While the United Nations (UN) now recognizes these policies to be a failure and censures organizations such as the World Bank, which played an instrumental role in implementing these policies throughout the 1990s.[33] In this film the UN is implicated for its endorsement of neoliberal restructuring. Cantet’s next film examines the impact of this restructuring.

Time Out portrays how the central character Vincent not only lies about being laid-off but then also constructs elaborate lies to pretend that he has an important job at the UN demanding his time. While he has previously worked as a consultant and is already versed in free market jargon, he visits the UN building and studies brochures, memorizing facts to repeat back to his family. Vincent goes to great lengths to keep his family from knowing that he is not employed. Yet he does not spend his time looking for employment and has not even filed for unemployment after being laid-off. He does not want to work but does not want his family to know. It is this—his not wanting to work—more so than his loss of job which he must hide from his family.

While Vincent finds a job suffocating, to a varying degree other characters are also dissatisfied with working. The irony though, is that these other dissatisfied workers envy what Vincent supposedly now has—a stimulating and gratifying job. Vincent’s acquaintance Fred admits that he’s not ambitious and could never be passionate about a job, implying that Vincent is. To cope with work Fred is going into debt because he goes out after work just to “feel like I did something with my day. Give myself some kind of stupid pleasure.” While his friend Nono’s wife Jeanne is happy to be the breadwinner for their family, she still admires Vincent. She says his job “seems so interesting. It must be gratifying to be helping out Africa. Better than working for some private company.” His wife Muriel, who is trapped in the monotony of her role as a teacher, housewife, and mother, admits to being jealous of her husband’s ability to change jobs. She also admires the work that he does, specifically his role in promoting fair trade.

Of course, Vincent is not actually helping anyone. He’s lying to his wife about his new job. He “buys time” by taking money from acquaintances such as Fred for a supposed investment scheme in Russia. He also supports his family by selling goods on the black market when recruited by the con man Jean-Michel. These lies about where his money comes from are more than an individual pathology. These personal lies to his family echo the lies of neoliberal rhetoric.

In particular the film reveals the false promises of privatization. As Vincent becomes further involved in this lie, he asks his father for 200,000 francs to set up housing in Geneva. Muriel explains that they can repay this loan with the housing stipend. After the check is written, Vincent casually tells the story of talking to someone in Mozambique who is fighting to reconstruct their telecommunications network. He says, “Suddenly, I looked around me…all the marble and glass…all the space.” Muriel asks in astonishment, “You’re complaining?” and he replies, “No, it’s just surrealistic.” Vincent’s story evokes the gap between the wealthy and the poor, and his own experiences have made him realize that he is on the outside rather than inside of the wealth. When he visited the UN, he was asked to leave the lobby after a security guard, who had been watching him on surveillance, noticed that he had been there longer than an hour. On another occasion a security guard chases Vincent away after discovering him sleeping in his car in the parking lot of the hotel chain Novotel, where he conducts his investment schemes. Vincent has no place in these private spaces.

The merits of Vincent’s supposed job also come under question. In a conversation with his father Vincent explains about the collaboration between the UN and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). His father distrusts these collaborations as “never-ending meetings without any results.” Vincent begins to explain that beyond meetings, these arrangements offer financing and follow-up consulting, which not only fails to convince his father but instead provokes his exclamation: “Are you dreaming? Consulting in Africa! How can you believe in that?” While Vincent claims that he sees it in action, his father says, “Don’t believe it. That’s nonsense. All these small private initiatives never solved the problems of under-developed nations.” Vincent’s father is cynical about this collaboration’s ability to develop the Third World. Although Vincent’s father is thinking in terms of viability, the subtext of this scene suggests that the NGO-UN collaboration is as much of a lie as Vincent’s claim to be working for the UN.

It is significant that Vincent’s lie is revealed to his wife in a discussion about legal and “parallel” economies. When Vincent brings the con-man Jean-Michel home for dinner, Muriel presses him for information about his job. Jean-Michel claims to work “in connection with the European Commission, in their anti-fraud sector.” While Vincent and Muriel’s son Julien argues with Jean-Michel that selling fake goods is not a serious crime, Muriel grows increasingly aware of how Vincent has been supporting them. While Jean-Michel describes the factories that make both legal and fake goods, making it difficult to distinguish between the legal and parallel economies, Vincent and Muriel exchange looks. Vincent looks trapped and Muriel looks heartbroken as she realizes what Vincent has actually been doing.

 After his lie is revealed to his family, the way the family reacts to Vincent and he to them suggests that he may harm his family or commit suicide.[34] When he arrives home his daughter stares at him as if he’s a stranger and his eldest son Julien is angry and does not want to speak to him. There is a hardness in Vincent’s voice as he explains that he did it “so you could live like nothing happened” and reminds them that he could have left them instead. In a couple of instances, Muriel puts herself between Vincent and the children in a protective gesture. Vincent’s mood swings from despondent, saying “I’m just tired. None of you know how tired I am,” to anger, exclaiming, “What are you all doing there? Are you just going to watch me all night? You’re all completely sick!” When Vincent’s father arrives, Vincent climbs out of a window because he has “nothing to say,” drives off in his SUV, and then refuses to speak to his family on his cell phone. He then walks out of his SUV and out of the camera frame, seemingly into traffic.

The screen goes black and then immediately cuts to a brightly lit office scene. Vincent chooses the simultaneously most mundane and most terrifying path. In a job interview, Vincent is able to convincingly explain his seven-month period not working. With the help of his father’s recommendation his lies are accepted, and he is offered the job. Haunting music then becomes louder than the interviewer’s voice as the camera zooms in on Vincent’s face. His resignation is terrifying.

Vincent, like Franck and Alain from Human Resources, also does not have a place. Cantet’s films ask questions—such as “Where is your place?”—which have no answers within the rhetorical framework of neoliberalism. These questions demonstrate that the rhetoric is irreconcilable with what it is describing; they cannot be answered in a way that sustains the economic order. Human Resources and Time Out demonstrate the impossibility of any utopian element to neoliberalism. In his next two films Cantet transitions to examining the effects of the neoliberal economy on the Third World and its immigrants. While Time Out exposes the false promises of the rhetoric of Third World development, Heading South focuses on Haiti, a Third World country that has been a recipient of international aid and development programs.

Heading South (2005)

Heading South, is set in the late 1970s, which was a transitional moment both for global capital and Haiti. Neoliberalism began to gain credence in that decade and affected events in Haiti. During the 1970s, foreign money arrived in the small Caribbean country in several forms: tourism, aid, and investment. After the end of François Duvalier’s rule in 1971, the country did experience an increase in foreign spending as tourism expanded rapidly throughout the decade.[35] However, by the 1980s tourism dropped off substantially due to Jean-Claude Duvalier’s repressive regime, worsening poverty, and the false rumor that Haiti had been a source for HIV.[36] In 1973 the United States and other countries also renewed foreign aid after a ten-year suspension,[37] and since the mid-1970s the U.S. has been Haiti’s largest donor.[38] Because the U.S. has interrupted aid at different times due to “alleged human rights abuses, corruption, and election fraud” and other development agencies have followed its lead, the U.S. has wielded significant power over the direction of Haitian affairs.[39] Foreign aid to Haiti has come with strings attached.

International development agencies played a key role in compelling Haiti to transform itself into a country open to foreign investment. Anthropologist Robert Lawless suggests that the United States made a pact with François Duvalier that it would support his son Jean-Claude Duvalier as the succeeding president if Jean-Claude would welcome U.S. private investment and create an export-oriented economy.[40] The United States Agency for International Development (AID) acknowledged that Haiti would need to import grain because of this export-oriented development but welcomed “this historic change toward deeper market interdependence with the United States.”[41] Between 1973 and 1980 Haiti’s external public debt increased dramatically from $53 million to $360 million.[42] As part of its loan programs, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank coerced Haiti into neoliberal structural adjustment programs, requiring that spending on education, health, and rural development “be minimized” so that funds could be spent on export-oriented development.[43] The combination of Haiti’s repressive government and cheap labor made it popular for the outsourcing of assembly work.[44]

Heading South examines the U.S.’s infiltration into Haitian affairs directly through its portrayal of tourism and indirectly through the larger history to which it alludes. In the film, middle-aged white women, who find romantic relationships in the context of Western sexism to be unacceptable, seek sexual relationships with Haitian men in which they feel more powerful. While they sometimes claim to “love” their sexual partners, the film suggests that their sex tourism is connected to the larger exploitation of Haiti. Heading South uses sex tourism as both a concrete example of this exploitative relation and as a symbol of the lopsided power relations of global capitalism in which the national body of Haiti is available for purchase.

The choice of women as sexual tourists rather than men is important. First of all, there is some empathy for the women who are escaping undesirable situations at home. Ellen, who is a 55-year-old professor, says, “If you are over 40, and not as dumb as a fashion model, the only guys who are interested in you are natural-born losers or husbands whose wives are cheating on them.” Ellen also finds “repulsive” the romantic relationships of her female students because seeing them cry in the hallways, she imagines that their boyfriends “enjoy having those girls at their mercy.” Brenda is a 48-year-old divorcee who consumes Valium to the extent that it has little effect on her. Sue, who runs a warehouse, rarely dates at home in Canada but in Haiti feels like she becomes “a butterfly.” Because the problem of Western sexism makes sexual relationships at home either undesirable or unattainable and motivates the women’s travel abroad, the film more directly concerns cultural exploitation rather than individual perversion.

More important, the narrative better mirrors the relation between the First World and Third World during the era of giving aid rather than invading militarily—a guise of caring covers over the exploitation. While Cantet’s earlier films contain gestures of refusal within them, his later films are about the costs of the neoliberal economy. In particular, by portraying clashes between white, middle-class inhabitants in the First World and the impoverished inhabitants or refugees of the Third World, the films demonstrate the unbearableness of social relations at the bottom of global capitalism and the complicity of the First World.

The opening scene of Heading South makes clear the harsh, unbearable choices available in Haiti: give your fifteen year-old daughter away to a middle-aged man or risk being killed and having her stolen and forced into prostitution for the military. At the airport a mother pleads with Albert, a hotel employee escorting a tourist to the resort, telling him that she and her daughter “once had a nice life” but since her husband, who worked as a public health inspector, was arrested at his office and never seen again, she has been penniless. Not only can she not pay her rent or daughter’s tuition, but worse she knows that “unfortunately, being beautiful and poor in this country [her daughter] doesn’t stand a chance.”

While the film portrays tourists only briefly glimpsing the poverty and military rule that constrains Haitian lives—either through the windows of the vehicle as they are transported to the resort or of the soldiers standing guard at the airport in camouflage and with machine guns—the film contains scenes without tourists, such as the opening one, that encourage the audience to view the tourists’ critically. In particular, several scenes provide the audience information about the life of Legba, the young male gigolo who romances both Ellen and Brenda. While several of the women tourists claim to love Legba, they remain completely ignorant about what his life is like when he is not at the resort. For example, in a street scene where boys are playing soccer, two men—who are apparently cops—take soda from a young vendor without paying for it. When the young boy asks for payment, the cops knock over his box of bottles and cans and threaten the boy, asking for his permit and ID. Eddy, a young adolescent who hangs out with the male gigolos at the resort, defends the young boy, but Legba steps in telling the cop that there is “no problem,” clearly fearing for Eddy’s life.

Legba’s understanding of life as threatened under the Haitian dictatorship is validated later in the film when he is murdered for an encounter with a young woman. This encounter also points to the lack of choices that Haitians face. While walking along the street, Legba is ordered into a car with tinted windows by the driver of this young woman, who seems to have been a former girlfriend of Legba’s. She tells Legba that two months ago she was made the mistress of a Colonel who is married and has children. Legba, whose masculine pride seems injured, is critical of her. She insists, “When those people want something, they always get it. I had no choice.” When Legba asks if she was raped, the girl explains:

“No, that’s not how it happens. They give you smiles, jewels, gifts, roses but you know that this man who’s giving you gifts and smiles, just for kicks, may gun down any fool who crosses his path! So the roses and gifts are like a machine-gun against your neck.”

In a further attempt to explain, she mentions her sister who works as a live-in maid and has to sleep with her boss and his son and says she and Legba were not made for that. In contrast, she made the “choice” to become the Colonel’s mistress and a government prostitute just as Legba makes the “choice” to service foreign tourists in order to support himself and his mother. While she is forced to service the military, Legba represents the selling of the national body to the First World, particularly the U.S.

The maître d’ Albert represents the national resentment towards this selling of Haiti. Of course, as an employee of a tourist resort, he is also forced to serve the Americans. The film includes four monologues. Three of these stories are from women visiting the resort—Ellen, Brenda, and Sue—and they speak directly to the camera, and one is from Albert, and his monologue is heard in voiceover as he prepares food in the kitchen for Legba at Brenda’s insistence even though he had said it was against house rules. Albert, who comes from a family of patriots who fought the Americans during the 1915 occupation, says, that if his grandfather “knew I was a waiter for Americans, he’d die of shame.” However, Albert is left with few options because the newest invasion of Americans is harder to fight:

“This time the invaders aren’t armed, but they have more damaging weapons than cannons: dollars! So that everything they touch turns to garbage. The whole country is rotten.”

Generally, the tourists remain ignorant of this resentment. In this same scene where Albert gives his monologue, Brenda and Sue say that they are surprised at the racism of the Haitians when Albert forbids Legba from dining at the resort’s restaurant. Of course, they misinterpret Albert’s resistance and are not cognizant of their own racism that combines with class exploitation. They do not consider how they can purchase anything they want in this country—whether that is the art Sue buys at the market for $3 a piece or sex from young Haitian men—and they remain unconscious of how they exploit the Haitians. Ellen’s exploitation, however, becomes visually apparent to the audience when Ellen photographs Legba naked. Although he wants to face the camera, she insists on capturing his image from behind with him not looking at the camera: “I want to see your face asleep and your ass.” She wants to take home with her a picture of Legba caught passively by the camera.

Brenda’s exploitation is more explicit. During her monologue, she tells an uncomfortable story of imposing herself sexually on fifteen-year old Legba whom she and her husband had “adopted” and fed. She describes the episode as “literally, so violent I couldn’t stop screaming” and that violence is what makes her orgasm for the first time. Legba still understands this power dynamic three years later. After Brenda buys him chicken for dinner, they go for a walk on the beach and he strips naked. Brenda ‘s monologue in which she reveals her crime of statutory rape is filmed as if she is confiding in a friend—she’s sitting relaxed on her bed and speaks directly to the camera, implicating the audience who shares this secret with her.

As sex tourists, the women take on the role of exploiter, and they remain ignorant of the role that the First world plays in creating and maintaining the conditions that force these young men into prostitution. Near the end of the film the dead naked bodies of Legba and the young woman who is the Colonel’s mistress are dumped on the beach at the resort in the middle of the night. Most likely they were murdered under the Colonel’s orders since it is Frank, the driver of the young woman, who disposes of their bodies. Even though the women tourists are horrified by the death of Legba, they do not connect it to the larger political and economic situation. When the government official tells Ellen that her argument with Legba had nothing to do with his death and that she knew nothing about him, she continues to prioritize the importance of their argument and thinks she might be at risk since the bodies were dumped on the beach at the resort. The maître d’ Albert has to translate the official’s response, which is “tourists never die.” Ellen’s fearing for her own life reveals how little she realizes her own level of privilege.

The film concludes with Brenda’s response to Legba’s death. While Ellen retreats home, Brenda decides to voyage to other islands and become the perpetual sexual tourist. Even before Legba’s body is discovered, Brenda begins to transfer her affection to other men when she goes alone to a dance and makes eye contact with several men until someone asks her to dance. After Legba is killed, she admits that maybe she did not love Legba, but she knows that she “loved the way he looked” at her. It is this position of power in her sexual relationships that she continues to seek, but she masks it with an exoticization of the islands and the men on them. The closing scene of the film begins with a close-up on Brenda’s face with a satisfied smile and the ocean in the background. She states in voiceover:

“Of course, I won’t go back home. Besides I don’t have a house anymore or a husband. I want nothing to do with men from the North. I’m going to visit other islands in the Caribbean. Cuba, Guadalupe, Barbados, Martinique, Trinidad, Bahamas. They have such lovely names. I want to love them all.”

 The screen then goes black and the film ends with only the sound of the ocean in background as credits roll. The ending of the film is unsettling as Brenda chooses an ongoing exploitative lifestyle even after she’s been confronted with Legba’s death. The film leaves the audience contemplating the intersection of the Western exoticization of Third World countries and the unbalanced power relationship between the First and Third World. It calls into question the unequal social relations on which global capitalism depends and how the rhetoric of aid, similar to the women’s rhetoric of love, masks the exploitative relationship between the U.S. and Haiti.

The Class (2008)

Finally, Cantet’s fourth film, The Class, examines relations between Third World immigrants and France through its depiction of the neoliberal promise of choice and opportunity in the educational system. Focusing almost exclusively on the interactions between a teacher and his multi-ethnic students in the classroom, it portrays the personal and cultural tensions that are a manifestation of the neoliberal restructuring of the economy where workers from countries in Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia—who are deprived of opportunities in their home countries—are compelled to migrate to the West.[45] In the French system, these students only have one more year after the current one to decide between pursuing an academic or vocational route. It is this guise of having a choice that is at issue in the film. The Class illustrates how a rhetoric of “equal opportunity” serves to mask a lack thereof not only in the French educational system but in the restructured neoliberal economy.

In regards to immigration, France has attempted an universalist model of integration in order to promote “equal opportunity,” and the school system is intended to be the site of socialization where children learn the language and values of French culture.[46] However, The Class illustrates the limitations of this model. In the film the French educational system serves to remind the students that they are generally excluded from a definition of what is French. This exclusion is frequently apparent in François’ classroom where the students are learning the French language. For example, François uses the sample sentence “Bill enjoys a succulent cheeseburger” to teach the meaning of the word “succulent” in context without considering the Eurocentrism of either “Bill” or a “cheeseburger.” One student immediately replies that “Cheeseburgers stink.” Ignoring the student’s cultural criticism, François attempts to use the student’s remark productively in helping the class understand the meaning of the word “succulent,” but then he distances himself further from them by using the unfamiliar cultural expression that his statement “should have made the penny drop.” Some of his students recognize how his examples exclude them and then suggest that instead of using “whitey names, Honkey names” that he use names such as Aissata, Fatou, and Rachid. In addition to his choice of cultural examples, François also embodies the dominance of French middle-class white culture in the grammar lessons themselves. When he attempts to teach the imperfect subjunctive, the students recognize that its use is anachronistic. When he then claims that he uses the imperfect subjunctive in conversation with friends, he further marks himself as part of the bourgeois from which they are excluded.

François also represents the educational system’s undermining of Third World immigrant students. While there are moments when François genuinely encourages and praises his students—for example, praising Souleymane’s work on his self-portrait and showing it to the entire class—François more frequently underestimates his students’ abilities, both academically and socially. During a parent-teacher conference, François cannot hide his disbelief when a mother, who criticizes the teachers for not challenging the better students, states that she’d like her son “to go to the best, to Henri IV.” Another time, François doubts Esmeralda’s claims that she read Plato’s The Republic on her own until she is able to answer questions about the book. In another parent-teacher conference, one mother defends her son against the criticism that he is an outcast. This scene includes only her reply to Francois—not his criticism nor his response to her defense—which privileges her position. The trend of being critical of students is reinforced when the faculty discusses implementing a penalty-point system, and the parent’s representative to the committee protests, “This is typical of the school’s bad habits. You always condemn the students, but never praise them.”

While the educational system underestimates the students’ abilities, it makes devastating assumptions about their futures. These expectations are most clearly—and crudely—expressed by a frustrated teacher who goes off on a rant in the teacher’s lounge:

“I’m sick of these clowns. Sick of them. I can’t take it anymore. They’re nothing, they know nothing, they look right through you when you try to teach them. They can stay in their shit. I’m not going to help them. They’re so basic, so insincere, always looking for             trouble. Go ahead, you guys, stay in your crap neighborhood. You’ll be here all your lives and it serves you right… Have you seen them in the yard? It’s like they’re in heat. They’re all over each other like animals. It’s crazy. It’s the same in class…”

While the other teachers would not dare voice such crude sentiments, the expectation that these students are not likely to escape their neighborhoods seems to be more widely felt. For example, when a student wants to write about frequenting Galeries Lafayette, a French department store, in her self-portrait, François cannot hide his surprise and says, “Wow, that’s four metro stops. A huge leap from your neighborhood,” suggesting that she does not belong in the center of Paris or out of her neighborhood. Because François is often seen defending students to other teachers, his prejudices should not be read solely as personal flaws but as reflective of the prejudices ingrained in the institutional educational system.

The tendency of the school to denigrate rather than advocate for students is key to the central conflict in the film—the expulsion of Souleymane for a behavioral infraction. On the day prior to the incident that leads to his expulsion, the faculty discusses whether to issue Souleymane an official warning. When the teachers’ silence condemns Souleymane, Esmeralda, one of the student representatives, speaks up on his behalf to say that his grades have improved. François then simultaneously defends and attacks Souleymane. He says that he would rather “stress his good work” than issue threats and punishments. When another teacher accuses of him of wanting “to buy social harmony,” François replies, “I don’t think a warning’s what he needs. Maybe we should say he has reached his limit because he’s limited scholastically.” When revealed in class by the two student representatives Esmeralda and Louise, this denigration devastates Souleymane. Angry at the girls for revealing this information, François then verbally attacks Esmeralda and Louise calling them “skanks.” After an angry exchange with Francois in which he defends the girls, Souleymane attempts to storm out of the classroom. When François physically blocks him and another student Carl physically restrains him, he struggles to free himself and accidentally hits a female student, Khoumba, in the face with his school bag and cuts her eyebrow. While injuring Khoumba was an accident, what is left unexamined in the school system is what provoked Souleymane in the first place.

The film illustrates how certain students are pigeonholed into the category of deviant or criminal by suggesting that Souleymane’s outcome—expulsion from the school—is predetermined. Following the incident, Khoumba inquires about whether Souleymane will be expelled, and when François replies that nothing has yet been decided, Khoumba responds, “It’s all settled anyway. Because it’s always the same.” In the following scene, François discusses the issue informally in the lounge with the other teachers. François seems to have been influenced by Khoumba—who also informed him that Souleymane would likely be sent back to his village in Mali by his father if expelled—and points out to the other teachers that in the previous year there were twelve disciplinary hearings with the result of an expulsion each time. However, François ultimately tells the principal that he does not have “much choice” but to go ahead with the disciplinary hearing. The system—and the expectations of the other faculty that maintain the system—does not allow for actual choice regarding Souleymane’s future.

While the hopes for the individual students’ futures vary, the concluding scene suggests that many of their futures are predetermined. At the end of the film on the last day of class after the students leave the classroom, a quiet black girl who goes largely unnoticed throughout the film approaches Francois’s desk and says seriously in a quiet tone that she has not learned anything all year because she does not understand what the rest of the class does. After François tries to claim that she learned as much as the other students, she looks up from the ground and says directly, “I don’t want to go to vocational school.” François tries to claim that has not been decided yet:

“There’s no question of that yet. You’re moving on to the next year. You’ll have plenty of time to think about your future. Vocational school isn’t an absolute certainty. It all depends on how you do next year.”

François’ response echoes his earlier response to Khoumba’s charge that everything had already been decided. The scene ends with the girl restating her position: “But I don’t want to.” At this moment it becomes clear not only what is at stake but that this student recognizes that there is not an actual choice for her—all she can do is state a refusal. The ending of the film illustrates the ideological role that “equal opportunity” serves in buttressing the claims of a neoliberal economy as seen through Francois’ desperate attempt to cling to the notion that the future has not been decided. At the same time it voices a blunt rejection of the false choices offered to Third World immigrants within the restructured neoliberal economy.


Viewed together as a body of work on global capitalism, Cantet’s films illustrate the false choices offered from a multi-faceted perspective. Human Resources and Time Out examine the difficulties of the flexible labor market on the traditionally privileged class of white male workers and how market liberalization is undermining their sense of self as workers. Both of these films offer refusals of what people are supposed to desire—employment and class mobility—on the terms that they are offered. Heading South and The Class illustrate the limited options for those living at the margins of global capitalism—multi-ethnic immigrants in France and people of the Third World. Both of these films criticize the tendency of the white middle class to deny and/or rationalize the injustices of the restructured neoliberal economy. In Heading South, claims of “love” shield the tourists from the realities of their acts of exploitation, and in The Class, claims of “equal opportunity” shield the teachers from their complicity with the structural inequalities in the educational system.

All of Cantet’s films have unsettling endings. They raise questions or problems that cannot be answered such as Franck asking his co-worker “Where is your place?” and the young student’s intransigent “But I don’t want to.” They also illustrate attempts at self-deception in the face of an undesirable reality through Vincent’s resignation and acceptance of a job he does not want and Brenda’s claim to “want to love them all.” Cantet’s films conclude with a lack of resolution and leave the audience in an uncomfortable silence throughout the credits. The discomfort of these film endings underscores the intolerable character of social relations under global capitalism.

 Although most of Cantet’s films are specifically situated in French culture, they convey contemporary attitudes regarding work in a restructured neoliberal economy throughout the First World. While Cantet’s films are unable to provide solutions, they effectively narrativize the impasses of global capitalism. By illustrating the ways that neoliberalism has constrained our political imagination, they may also represent creative expressions of the pressing need to think beyond this paradigm.


1. Richard Porton and Lee Ellickson, “Alienated Labor: An Interview with Laurent Cantet,” Cineaste, 27.2 (2002): 26. [return to text]

2. Martin O’Shaugnessy, The New Face of Political Cinema: Commitment in French Film Since 1995, Berghahn Books, 2007; Will Higbee “ ‘Elle est ou, ta place?’ The Social-Realist Melodramas of Laurent Cantet: Ressources humanies (2000) and Emploi du temps (2001),” French Cultural Studies, 15.3(2004): 235-250.

3. O’Shaugnessy, The New Face of Political Cinema, 1.

4. Higbee, “The Social-Realist Melodramas of Laurent Cantet”: 238-240.

5. Ginette Vincendeau,”White Collar Blues, Sight and Sound 12:4(April 2002): 30-32; Vincendeau, “The Times BFI 52nd London Film Festival: ‘The Class’: Interview,” Sight and Sound,18:11 (Nov 2008): 30-31.

6. Vincendeau, “White Collar Blues.”

7. O’Shaugnessy, The New Face of Political Cinema, 3.

8. Higbee, “The Social-Realist Melodramas of Laurent Cantet,” 236.

9. Porton and Ellickson, “Alienated Labor, 27.

10. Higbee, “The Social-Realist Melodramas of Laurent Cantet,” 244.

11. Porton and Ellickson, “Alienated Labor, 26.

12. Higbee, “The Social-Realist Melodramas of Laurent Cantet,” 244.

13. In addition to Will Higbee, other scholarship on masculinity in Cantet’s first two films include: Neil Archer, “The road as the (non-)place of masculinity: L’Emplo du temps,” Studies in French Cinema 8.2 (2008): 137-148; Judith Franco, “’The More you Look, the Less you Really Know”: The Redemption of White Masculinity in Contemporary American French Cinema, Cinema Journal 47.3 (2008): 29-47; Will Higbee, “’Elle est ou, ta place?’ The Social-Realist Melodramas of Laurent Cantet: Ressources humanies (2000) and Emploi du temps (2001), French Cultural Studies, 15.3(2004): 235-250

14. Heading South, Shadow Distribution Press Kit,
http://www.shadowdistribution.com/headingsouth /downloads/HeadingSouthPresskit.pdf

15. According to the Shadow Distribution Press Kit Cantet says he also drew inspiration from two other short stories “La Maitresse du Colonel” and “L’Apres-Midi d’un Faune.” All three of these stories are in the collection La Chair du Maitre by Laferriere.

16. Dana Strand, “Etre et parler: Being and speaking French in Abdellatif Kechiche’s L’Esquive (2004) and Laurent Cantet’s Entre les murs (2008).” Studies in French Cinema 9.3 (2009): 260.

17. Vincendeau, “The Rules of the Game,” Sight and Sound 19:3 (March 2009): 34-36.

18. Vincendeau, “TheTimes BFI 52nd London Film Festival”; Manohla Dargis, “Learning to Be Future of France,” The New York Times, 26 Sept 2008.

19. Strand, “Etre et parler,” 265.

20. “James S. Williams, “Framing Exclusion: The Politics of Space in Laurent Cantet’s Entre Les Murs.” French Studies 65.1: (2011): 66.

21. Strand, “Etre et parler,” 265; Vincendeau, “Rules of the Game; Vincendeau, “TheTimes BFI 52nd London Film Festival”; Dargis, “Learning to Be Future of France.”

22. Vincendeau, “Rules of the Game.”

23. Vincendeau, “Rules of the Game.”

24. Strand, “Etre et parler,” 269.

25. Higbee 238.

26. Higbee, 239.

27. Slavoj Zizek, “Against the Populist Temptation,” Critical Inquiry, 32 (2006): 568.

28. Zizek, “Against the Populist Temptation,” 568.

29. Zizek, “Against the Populist Temptation,” 569.

30. David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005): 19.

31. Shelley Emling, “Reluctantly, Europeans Working Longer Hours,” Cox News Service, 10 August 2004.

32. “Thirty-five hours of misery; Labour markets in Europe.” The Economist, 17 July 2004.

33. “UN exposes gap in poverty-cutting strategies for Africa,” Agence France Press, 26 September, 2002 and UNCTAD Says Structural Adjustment Has Failed in Africa, Financial Times Information, 27 September 2002.

34. Porton and Ellickson, “Alienated Labor,” 26.

35. Richard A. Haggerty, ed. Haiti: A Country Study. (Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1989):

36. Haggerty, Haiti: A Country Study,

37. Haggerty, Haiti: A Country Study,

38. U.S. Department of State, “Background Note: Haiti,”

39. Haggerty, Haiti: A Country Study,

40. Paul Farmer, The Uses of Haiti, (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2006), 97.

41. Josh DeWind, Josh and David H. Kinley III. Aiding Migration: The Impact of International Development Assistance on Haiti, (Boulder: Westview Press, 1988): 60-61.

42. Farmer, 100. As of 2006 Haiti owed $1.4 billion in debt with an annual debt service of $57.4 million. Mark Schuller, “Haiti’s 200-Year Ménage-a-Trois: Globalization, the State, and Civil Society,” Caribbean Studies, 35.1 (2007): 157.

43. DeWind and Kinley, 60, 67.

44. Farmer, 99.

45. Jerry D. Rose, “How Neoliberalism Has Created the World’s Immigration Crisis,” CounterCurrents.org, 12 February 2008,

46. Angelique Vassout, “France and the ‘Heirs’ of North African Immigration,” Knowledge Must Weblog, 22 May 2010,

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