When a foreign worker is killed by a suicide bomber in Israel, the large bakery she worked for comes under attack for failing to notice her absence. A bureaucratic bungle (ironically due to an act of compassion) results in accusations of corporate heartlessness and exploitation. To diffuse the growing PR disaster the bakery’s HR manager accompanies his ex-employee’s body back to Romania.
While it takes a while to find its rhythm, The Human Resources Manager evolves into an enjoyable road movie about self-discovery. The various characters accompanying the HR manager during parts of the journey provide comic relief, antagonism, a contrast to his wearied reluctance and even eventually spiritual companionship. Journalistic integrity and corporate ethics are challenged throughout the film, with the dead worker frequently being reduced to an object of political leverage or an administrative burden.
A light drama with some tilts towards droll comedy, The Human Resources Manager is ultimately a very humanist film, offering a commentary on the way modern life has become so regulated and routine. It reveals our potential to form meaningful relationships and discover compassion when circumstances compel us to look beyond our limited worldviews.
Originally appeared in The Big Issue, No. 380, 2011