AlterEgo Films : société de production et de distribution

They didn’t all die, but all of them were hit.

A film by Sophie Bruneau and Marc-Antoine Roudil

Each week, in three Parisian public hospitals, a psychologist and two doctors are treating men and women who are suffering from work related problems. An assembly line worker, an agency manager, a state enrolled nurse and a shop manageress… In turn, during some unique interviews, these four people tell us about their problems.  The three medical specialists listen to them and gradually establish the relationship that exists between the individual distress of their patients and the new forms of work practises.  Through the intimacy, the intensity and the truthfulness of these ordinary dramas, filmed in a real life situation, the film questions the way in which suffering in the world of work has become an everyday feature of life. With a cinematographic approach, Ils ne mouraient pas tous mais tous étaient frappés unveils and gives perspective to an invisible and yet silent reality that usually takes place behind closed doors: the untold work related suffering.

2005 / 80' / 35mm 1,85 / Color / Dolby SRD / Broadcast license 108 384

Photography : Antoine Marie Meert
Sound : Marc-Antoine Roudil
Editing : Philippe Boucq
Sound editing : Etienne Curchod
Mixing : Philippe Baudhuin

Excecutive producers Belgium : Sophie Bruneau and Marc-Antoine Roudil
Excecutive producer France : Delphine Morel

An Alter Ego films and ADR production in coproduction with Wallonie Image Production / WIP and L'atelier de production du Gsara . With the support of the Centre National de la Cinématographie, the Centre du Cinéma et de l'Audiovisuel du Ministère de la Communauté française de Belgique and the Walloon Cable distributors. With the support of the Conseil Général du Val de Marne (support for audiovisual and cinematographic creation) and the Media program of the European Commission

First shown in France / Ardèche : Friday 19th of Augustus 2006 in Etats généraux du documentaire, Lussas
First shown in France / Paris : Wednesday 5th of October 2005, salle Olympe , Gouges
First broadcast in Begium on : ARTE Belgium, Wednesday 29th of November 2006 at 10.40 PM
First broadcasted in France : CANAL PLUS Cinema, 26th of March 2007 at 10.55 PM

Sales and distribution in Belgium: Alter Ego Films / release: 22nd of March 2006
Distribution in France : Bodega Films / release: 8th of February 2006
Press : Karine Ménard and Laurence Granec
International sales (except from Belgium) : Pyramide, France
Distributors in Germany : Work in Progress, Berlin
DVD : Bodega films Edition
DVD : Festivals des festivals Edition, 2006 / non-commercial DVD release / Foreign Affairs Ministry /
English / Spanish and Portuguese subtitles

Selected in the following festivals :

  • Etats généraux du documentaire, Lussas, 2005
  • Independence and creation, Auch, 2005
  • Traces de vies, Clermont Ferrand, 2005
  • Les écrans documentaries, Gentilly, 2005
  • Environment Film Festival, Paris 2005
  • Visions du reel, Nyon, 2006
  • Documenta Madrid, 2006
  • 24e Bienal internacional de cine cientifico Malaga, 2006
  • Filmer à tout prix n°12 (Arte evening - Quai des belges), 2006

Awarded in the following festival :

  • "Regard social" Prize/ Traces de vies / Clermont Ferrand, 2005

Les Inrockuptibles n°532, 8th to 14th of February 2006

The evil at work
A fascinating, clever and healing documentary about work related suffering.

There is something extremely coherent about Bruneau and Roudil's film, both of them being directors of a beautiful previous documentary about solicitors: "A country solicitor". That coherence results from a rigorous and modest approach in accordance with their subject.
"Ils ne mourraient pas tous..." - inspired from Christophe Dejours' book "Suffering in France" - is divided into two parts.

The first part, filmed in static shots, shows four individual interviews between a representative of the medical profession (psychologist or doctor) and a patient suffering from work related diseases. We can see, and above all listen to, an assembly-line worker, a bank manager, an auxiliary nurse and a shop manager. They explain the reasons why they came to loath their job and the pressure put on them by their superiors. Four overwhelming interviews, which are representative of what the methods of the business world have become without offending anyone.

In the second part called "Viatique" (the last rites), the three practitioners seen in the first part (consultations take place in Nanterre, Garches and Creteil) along with a fourth participant come together to draw theoretical conclusions after the interviews. Who is that fourth participant? We only discover that at the very end, in the credits. This is one of the details of the directing that gives a quality to the film: what counts is not the name of these four practitioners but what they think, say and do. And they are saying that in the world of work, from now on, every one is afraid, that unemployment has turned the fear of redundancy into a new weapon that pushes workers to accept the unacceptable. Up until the day when...

They also say, amongst other things, that working conditions aren't probably worse than in the past. But what they highlight is that the only force that previously opposed the arduous nature and psychological pressure of work – which was the solidarity between workers – has now disappeared. Something very powerful appears at this moment in the film: hope. One can intensely feel that these four practitioners who have been reflecting on the distress of other people have managed to create a strong network and to develop a productive bond through their work. All is not lost.

Jean-Baptiste Morain

Télérama n°2926, 11th to 17th of February 2006

A plague is raging and nobody says anything. Apart from here. This film that is listening to others comes as a great relief. This is not just any kind of listening. This is "risky" as one of the practitioners will pronounce. This means that nothing is certain, that solutions are difficult and in a word that patients and doctors need a certain courage to confront the current evil. And to stare at it in the face without fear, following the example of the two filmmakers' sober yet attentive direction.

A lot is said about the unemployment crisis while often concealing the crisis in the work place. With the threat of redundancy comes submission, intimidation, blackmail or harassment. What comes out on top here is anguish and sometimes terror. When the doctor asks the shop manager if she wants to go back to work, her answer is a frantic plea: "Oh, no, no, no!" The same feeling for Madame Alaoui who says: "It will cost us our lives".

The four patients come back from hell and do not want to go back there. The system doesn't spare anyone, not even the conscientious. Then the practitioner's comforting words: "There is no need to feel guilty. It is you that carry the stories and values that do not match those of your superiors." Value, morality, recognition: so many words that became unfamiliar to the logic of the die-hard capitalist system, which doesn't encourage enterprise anymore, or the need to be conscientious, but to be ruthless at the cost of awful loneliness.

The film is even more vocal that it applies to everyone and raises questions about the ravages of the "every man for himself" doctrine in the world of work, about the paranoia fuelled by assessment grids worthy of the intelligence service and about the passive consent process. Here, there are no superior directions from a judge but a true questioning which will be directly debated in the epilogue called "Viatique".

It is a round table discussion hosted by Christophe Dejours and gathering the three practitioners that we have seen previously in the film. There we learn, amongst other things, how these doctors and psychologists have helped each other and have set up a network to furnish the demand of growing distress that hadn't arisen in the usual clinical diagnosis.

Work allows everyone to build up one's own identity and one's own dignity. This very function seems now seriously distorted, which profoundly weakens every worker, from the manager to the factory floor. If political films are rare, this is one of them: while pointing out the cruel absence of public debate, "Ils ne mourraient pas tous..." raises a lot of questions which are at the same time social, legal, economical and even philosophical.

Jacques Morice

Télérama n°2929, 4th to 10th of March 2006

A documentary film about work related violence is liberating the spoken word.

All of them were affected. We hadn't seen that for a long time: a political film with therapeutic qualities, a film that heals. From what? From work related suffering, a plague that spares no one. That explains the title, borrowed from one of La Fontaine's poems: "They didn't all die, but all of them were affected."

The films shows medical consultations with some stressed out men and women who had totally fallen to pieces. Its successful release in the cinema, on a small scale (only 11 release prints are circulating in France), is great news. Paris, Strasbourg, Dijon and Marseille are playing to a full house and many shows are ending in hearty applause. It is because this "tool", as the two directors like to qualify their film, is liberating the spoken word. To arouse public debate was the dearest wish of the two directors who are pleased to meet their public: "We are enthralled by the attention of the spectators and by their need to talk. With Sophie, while making the film, at one point we were afraid of being too demanding. Now I have the feeling that it is that freedom given to the use of words that people like so much. It makes them trust in cinema again."

The round table discussion hosted by Christophe Dejours at the end of the film is also applauded unanimously. During the "after-screening" debates, nurses, teachers, engineers, craftsmen, everybody tells one's own story in order to figure out and testify to the ravages of a seemigly taboo suffering, shockingly hidden by politicians. "A lot of people are telling us that the film is talking about themselves" says Sophie Clément from Bodega films, the film distributor. "We have also received some demands to show the film at the European Commission. After having considered the film too austere, some theatre managers are now waking up. We have some bookings up until June!" The beautiful adventure of this red-hot film is only starting.

Jacques Morice

Le Monde - 8th of Février 2006

Some truths about work in the intimacy of a medical consultancy

Does work make one sick? One only has to see the anthropologist Sophie Bruneau and her co-director Marc-Antoine Roudil's film to be convinced, and even scared. The proof is derived from a simplicity that makes it even more efficient: four interviews filmed during some specialized consultations (which originally commenced in 1995 in several Parisian hospitals) followed by a deep discussion between the practitioners in charge of this new discipline. The film shows an assembly-line worker, a bank manager, a nursing home employee and a saleswoman recently made redundant.

They are mentioning things that aren't heard anywhere: work is making them sick because the required effort and productivity rhythms are unbearably inhuman. More and more of these victims whose words cannot be heard in their work place are ending up in these consultation rooms, suffering from various symptoms, from psychosomatic problems to nervous breakdowns.

The fascinating discussion that follows the interviews brings together two doctors, a psychologist and a psychoanalyst. It testifies both to the recent extent of the phenomenon and the new field of interdisciplinary practises that it requires. It sheds even more light on the function of the new perverse and destructive forms of work management unveiled by these clinicians: a race for profit and productivity, work standards allowing controls of the workers' productivity, incentivising measures favouring competition between workers in the same field of competence, creation of assessment systems and mutual surveillance.

Everything is conceived to break any kind of solidarity or any kind of collective resistance against the company's corporate logic. Everything is done to reduce the individual to isolation and consent even if it means breaking his will the more he complains. Long held but refined political government methods. And from now on, they are not even applied in the name of the public good, but in the name of the all-powerful corporate logic and to the detriment – undisclosed and shameful - of the civil society (the human and economic cost of sick leave).

Jacques Mandelbaum