Special Presentations

Number One

Tonie Marshall

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In this whip-smart drama about corporate sexism, top French star Emmanuelle Devos plays a high-ranking female executive who is forced to consider her options and marshal her forces when she realizes that the glass ceiling is fast approaching.

"I don't believe in female solidarity," declares Emmanuelle Blachey (Emmanuelle Devos). The sole female executive at a high-ranking French energy firm, she has spent her career avoiding playing the gender card. Yet as Emmanuelle inches closer to the glass ceiling, she may be left with no other choice. The latest from Tonie Marshall (Venus Beauty Institute) is a juicy, whip-smart drama about how far women have advanced in the workplace — and how desperately some men will fight to maintain a chauvinist status quo.

When first approached by a feminist consortium urging her to seize an upcoming opportunity as CEO of a water-distribution company, Emmanuelle isn't interested. After her current superior rewards her latest feat of negotiation with a push toward a more traditionally "feminine" HR position, however, Emmanuelle begins to reconsider. But obstacles accumulate: Emmanuelle's father is ill, her partner resents her lack of free time, her competition is ruthless, and information comes to light that could compromise her reputation. Emmanuelle is dedicated, energetic, and qualified. But can merit trump misogyny?

Marshall conveys a comprehensive understanding of the espionage-like milieu of the office, from token diversity to casual sexism to the ambitious woman's everyday tug-of-war between contentment and having it all. Grounded in Devos' amazing performance — which studiously avoids conjuring the stereotypical workplace man-eater — Number One is a suspenseful, thoughtful, and provocative chronicle of one woman's attempt to climb a very precarious corporate ladder.

MICHÈLE MAHEUX

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