Les Heures-Encre

by Wendy Pillonel (29 min.)

Production Peacock Film in coproduction with the Master of Arts in Film ZHdK


Director Statement
The idea for this film was born out of a true story that took place in Lucerne in June 2015. Early one morning, a teacher of a vocational training center set himself on fire at his workplace. We are in Switzerland. This is a real case.
Although it‘s hard to imagine, suffering at work is a reality that affects a large part of the population in Switzerland. The race for productivity imposed by the system focuses on financial values rather than on human values as a company aims to continuously increase its performance and do more with less resources-sometimes to the detriment of employees. Cases of suicide because of work are too often ignored.
In Les Heures-Encre, I became interested in the reasons that lead someone to such an extreme and most importantly, the consequences of such an act of protest. What happens when someone pushed to the limit has no choice other than to commit suicide? What is the impact on the family, on the company?
A radical act. Can it really make a difference?
I wanted to reflect these issues through the eyes of those who remain, who are confronted with such a situation. It is through the perspectives of narration of the two protagonists directly affected by the event, that we reconstruct the reasons that led Frank to this desperate act. We explore two facets of a reality: Igor will be faced with a moral dilemma as well as the fear of losing his job. Meanwhile Lea will search for the truth about the death of her husband without daring to admit it to her son.
The individual is obviously powerless against the system. But it is through individual protest that we get to make small steps forward. This film is my individual protest. Sometimes there are things you need to shed light on, so that people know they exist. So that victims know they are not alone and that they have the right to defend themselves.

Wendy Pillonel