Just like the obsolete printer in her office, Marlène is told that she is too old and not productive enough to stay at her company anymore. Desperate with the idea of being alone and useless, she turns into a machine, hoping to earn back her rightful place in society, but will that be enough? In Seniors 3000, director Julien David uses an absurd premise to cleverly and carefully paint a facet of work life, dictated by capitalism.
As France is currently, unwillingly, going through a reform to raise the retirement age, Seniors 3000 could not feel timelier – to us anyway! But this narrative, which at first tackles workplace conditions, before expanding to examine capitalism’s effect on work and the culture of productivity, has an undeniable universal appeal.
Upon first glance, the film has a dynamic energy, with the visual flair adding even more fun to the absurd premise and how far David takes it. However, under that delightfully entertaining surface, the razor-sharp screenplay is actually deeply layered and addresses lots of topics relating to the workplace and getting older. If you take a second to take it all in and process it all, what Seniors 3000 actually conveys is quite chilling.
With its five-arc structure, lots actually happens over the 16-minute runtime of the film. As we follow Marlène’s journey, the fact she turns into a machine gives the film its absurdity, prompts us to welcome the suspension of disbelief and brings a certain levity to this quite bleak reality. Our investment in her character is at first deeply moving, when she feels outdated, but as expectations are subverted, we revel in her transformation to the final girl.
As witness Seniors 3000’s forsaken protagonist go to extreme measures to keep her job, we’re left wondering if it will ever be enough? No matter how much we push ourselves, more will always be asked. Because that’s capitalism and “the man” always wants to squeeze us tighter and tighter. While I was convinced this was the core of the story, with lots of well timed joked and subtle zingers, I was actually mistaken, as it’s revealed that Marlène’s love for her son is the reason her drive. A touching twist to the mayhem that has proceeded it.
Despite the clear intentions of the film early on, the screenplay of Seniors 3000 manages to surprise us with twists and turns, while the playful visual style is the perfect compliment to the witty script. The perfect balance between those two layers is why the film is ultimately so effective, with its entertaining quality it engages the audience, as the actually “point” of the film is slowly revealed. I strongly recommend watching the film more than once to be able to catch all the jokes David infused in both the screenplay and the animation.
David’s third short film since 2019, with Chicken of the Dead and Shlomo and the Rabbi coming before it, Seniors 3000 is part of the MIYU distribution catalogue and was selected at the 2023 edition of Clermont-Ferrand.