The Employer and the Employee (El Empleado y el Patrón)

Manuel Nieto Zas

Class conflicts and unequal power relations cast a shadow on the story set in rural Uruguay. Ricardo, a young farmer from a middle-class background, has two major concerns: his baby’s health and the lack of workers in the region. A tractor driver is needed urgently. Despite his lack of experience, Ricardo employs Carlos, who is only 18 years old and also a young father. An accident leads to a tragedy, and Ricardo takes the young man under his wing. Ricardo feels responsible for the other man’s suffering, while Carlos is plagued by feelings of guilt. Against this background, Manuel Nieto Zas unfurls a class study about two fathers in an asymmetrical co-dependent relationship. The story slowly develops into a “low intensity” thriller leading up to a devastating ending. Both of the characters attempt to maintain their personal freedom, and both ultimately fail.

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Direction Manuel Nieto Zas
Country Uruguay / Argentinien / Brasilien / Frankreich
Year 2021
Duration 110 min
Language Original with English Subtitles
Production Manuel Nieto Zas, Bárbara Francisco, Georgina Baisch, Cecilia Salim, Paola Wink, Michael Wahrmann, Julia Alves, Nathalie Trafford
Cast Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Cristian Borges, Justina Bustos, Fátima Quintanilla, Jean Pierre Noher
Camera Arauco Hernández Holz
Script Manuel Nieto Zas
Editing Pablo Riera
Sound Catriel Vildosola
Music Holocausto Vegetal, Buenos Muchachos

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About the director

Manuel Nieto Zas, born in 1972, is an Uruguayan filmmaker. In 2006, he won the Tiger Award at the Rotterdam Filmfestival for his debut The Dog Pound. In 2013, he received several awards for his film The Militant, for example at the Havana Film Festival and the Critics Special Award in São Paulo. His third feature film The Employer and the Employee premiered at Cannes 2021 in the section Quinzaine des Réalisateurs (Directors’ Fortnight) and has already been shown at various international festivals.

Press Reviews

Variety: „One of the biggest new Latin American films at Cannes, The Employer and the Employee marks a step-up in scale for Uruguayan writer-director Nieto and enhances his reputation as one of the region’s major directors on the rise.“

ScreenDaily: „This is a slow-burn drama whose lack of incident and evident heroes and villains makes all the more surprising its powerful hold on the attention.“

IFFMH (Internationales Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg): „Free of pathos and emotionally nuanced, this drama from Uruguay turns into a menacing thriller“

Cineuropa: „In The Employer and The Employee the presence of a white horse is more than symbolic, and makes the final stretch of the film work as a mirror between two men and South American rural society."



Hessian premiere

International feature film program