‘Perfect President’: ‘Papa’ Bardem will fix it

It went stupid. Salva is actually a good boy, he has the wrong friends who made him quarrel with these aggressive Arabs – unfortunately the police came. But fortunately, Papa Salva, old Fortuna, works at Blanco Fagin, and there is still an old fashioned boss, someone who takes care of things. The beneficiary will fix it.

In fact, in the black comedy The Perfect Boss, Julio Blanco (Bardem) is a boss who acts like a caring feudal lord. “I have no children, you are like my children,” you hear his workers. Motivational motivational speeches are Blanco’s prerogative, he talks about excellence, about justice and time and time again about family, “My brother” said to production manager Meirelles and seems to really believe in him at the moment. He also says, “You belong to me,” and doesn’t mean it in a bad way.

In the case of Salva, a young thug, it is enough to contact the local politician and Fortuna can pick up his son. Sure, you owe your boss something, Fortune’s submission knows no bounds anymore. In other cases, things are more complicated: production director Meirelles has recently been unable to concentrate, he is constantly making mistakes. Blanco takes him aside, invites him to dinner and soon it becomes clear: Meryl’s wife appears to be cheating on him. Again the manager has to act, because what makes his workers unhappy is detrimental to the company.

Everything stays in the family

In “The Perfect Boss,” De Aranoa describes a week in Blanco’s life in which he was under great pressure: His company has been nominated for an important business award and when the jury comes, everything should go smoothly. But outside the factory gates, a recently dismissed employee protested, a troublemaker camped in the dirt with his children and refused to take down his banners. Blanco tries to solve all the problems personally, but this guy is the one who really suffers.

But there should always be time for the beautiful things in life, especially for the beautiful marketing novice Liliana. I asked with wide eyes, “Is it normal for the manager to drive the trainee home?” The company is my family, the trainees are practically my daughters. “Blanco’s fat knows no bounds. The fact that the director picks an apprentice with whom he starts an affair is nothing new. Only Blanco’s wife doesn’t know it.

Imbalance between personal and professional

The relationships within the company and their details seem so specific that suspicion arises that de Aranoa had a certain person as a role model. In an interview with ORF.at on the occasion of the world premiere at the festival in San Sebastian, he denied this: “Of course I know people who also have these kinds of problems at work. But I primarily wanted to talk about how personal relationships turn into professional ones, and how There is interaction when the boundaries are blurred.”


Marketing newcomer: the beautiful Liliana (Almudena Amor) is Blanco’s latest foray

Focusing on the family in the context of work can be a warning sign, because most abusive relationships also occur within the family – and when Blanco says in one of his letters that “our labor relationships go beyond what is in the employment contract”, that may sound sweet, but it is actually Implicit warning. The paternalistic boss who takes care of everything has great potential for humor as a character.

But as the movie progresses, as Blanco pushes more and more boundaries to solve problems, the mood threatens to turn to horror. As brilliant as the film’s writing, the film’s angry center is Bardem. Here he combines the vulnerability and tenderness of his role in the drama The Roads Not Taken with the compelling ferocity of Raul Silva in James Bond 007: Skyfall, the colorful character whose audience still stands by him when he goes away so obviously amoral.

Save energy at all costs

De Aranoa wrote the role of Bardem, and Bardem credits every compliment to his director: “It was all in the script, all the details, I just had to bring it to life,” Bardem says in an interview with ORF.at. He plays Blanco as a creepy witch, someone who is constantly looking out for his own good, but who sees himself as caring and charitable, whether he’s rescuing young thugs from prison, squashing young female employees, or interfering with the marriage of his workers.

“We all know people like that, it’s not a Hispanic phenomenon. There are people like this anywhere where someone wants to keep their power, no matter the cost,” says Bardem. The film is a vivid portrayal of a form of entrepreneurship that hides hard-line capitalism behind its playful demeanor and never tires of raving about hard work, even though Blanco himself belongs to a generation of heirs.

Scene from the movie


The main thing is that everything remains in balance: Blanco (Bardem) in his inherited factory

Class struggle does not happen

Class struggle, woven here in the growing rage of the labor force, is still excluded, and it is painful and at the same time very funny in this farce about appalling working conditions. That was the idea, too, according to de Aranoa: “It also has to do with a lack of solidarity within the working class and harmful isolation — because if someone is fired, the people must unite to fight it, or else they won’t stand a chance against the president.”

The film is always on Blanco’s side, which becomes increasingly awkward the more intrusive and ruthless he is, and the more emotional he is towards him. The Perfect Boss is at its best in its darkest moments, and the message is clear: Beware a boss who pretends to be your fatherly friend. He is just a friend of his own money.

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