On Monday October 16th, approximately 150 people gathered in CC 1080 for the viewing of Mi Piace Lavorare (Mobbing), a 2004 Italian drama, starring and produced by U of T alumna, Nicoletta Braschi. It is the second of four films that will be screened as part of UTM’s 50th Anniversary Film Festival.

The movie follows a single mother, Anna (Nicoletta Braschi), who works for a large corporation and struggles to raise her daughter, Morgana (Camille Dugay Comencini), on €1, 500 per month. When the corporation merges with another, Anna realizes that money is not the only struggle. Her new boss continues to demote and humiliate her by making her do meaningless work until she finally takes her complaints to a worker’s union.

This movie was screened in Italian with English subtitles. This got me thinking about how we, as Canadians, miss out on interesting international films. The last international film I watched was Caché (2004). As Canadians, we tend to only watch movies that are on Netflix or playing at the movie theatres, most of which are Hollywood blockbusters. Most of us never consider watching anything outside of those genres. I enjoyed the film being screened in Italian as it gave the audience the ability to view the film the way the filmmaker intended it to be.

Mobbing focused on the issue of abuse in the workplace, specifically in Italy. It explores mental abuse in addition to physical abuse. In the movie, upper management constantly forces Anna to do humiliating and degrading work. Anna gets ill from stress so she takes time off from work. Based on real-life events, this is the sad reality of what many Europeans go through daily.

My favourite part of the movie was the relationship between Anna and her daughter, Morgana. They had a typical mother-daughter relationship—arguing but ultimately reconciling.

I also liked the overall style of the film. European films are different than North American films; the action is slower, the plots are simpler, and there’s less camera angles overall. For me, this was refreshing. Although I did keep waiting for some big climax that never really came.

Following the movie, there was a short Q&A with Braschi. She reiterated the fact that this movie was based on real-life events and that this kind of thing happens every day.

In the film, Anna politely and respectfully expressed her concerns to her boss—she was never rude. Yet, her boss continued to demote her even though she did not do anything wrong. The biggest lesson I learned from this movie is that if you’re not getting what you want, and you’re being respectful and honest, it might be time to put yourself first and get out of that bad situation. Putting your career over your well-being is just not worth it.

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