Human Factors (2021) - full transcript

Jan, Nina and their two kids are a cosmopolitan, middle-class family. Nina and Jan have a successful career as account executives at their advertising company, but when Jan accepts to work on the campaign of a political party, Nina's exclusion from the decision-making leads to doubting and mistrust. When they decide to spend a family weekend at their house in a coastal holiday resort, a mysterious home invasion sets everything off balance. While they try to put the incident into perspective, agitation triggers off a shake in the family core. Told through narrative loops and shifting lenses, HUMAN FACTORS unveils the fragility of truth in the hyper-mediatized world and the power of individual perspective.

Wake up, kids. We're here.

It stinks in here again.

Could you let some air
into the living room?

- Have you seen my phone?
- You're holding it.

I meant my personal one.

Don't you want
to put the rat away in its cage?


In a minute.

- Can I just check the news?
- Dad!

You'll get it back in a minute.

Stop right there.

In the last four years, at European level
we've done an excellent job.

And despite all the crises, Europe has
always been united and supportive.

We don't leave anyone behind.

The press wants to reduce
the work of the last four years...

Dad's being annoying.

I'll be there in a minute.

It was a good idea to come here.

Yes, sure.

I have to go to the supermarket.
We're out of pasta.

I can do it.

I need to stretch my legs
after the long drive.

Better hurry.
They close at six at this time of year.

Where's my phone?

What a good start
to our weekend away.

My personal one.

- Are you back on holiday?
- Just for the weekend.

Bad luck.
It's going to rain the whole week.

It's no better where we live.

But fortunately,
it's always changing here.

- Say hello to your wife and kids.
- Will do.



Okay. But we can do that.


No, that's fine.
I must have left it at home.

Yes, somewhere there.

I've got to deal with things here first.

Well, she didn't take it that well.

Hold on just a second.

Hang on.

- Mum?
- Emma!

I know. Let's go through
the contracts together again.

Could you open the door?

- What's wrong?
- There were people in the house.

- You're bleeding.
- It's nothing.

- How did it happen?
- I ran into the door-frame.

How did you do that?

Someone slammed a door
and it made me jump.

- Some guys. They ran off.
- How did they get in?

Bloody hell.


- What's wrong?
- They took Zorro.

What? Nonsense.

Why would they do that? No, no.

We'll find him.

Can you tell me what was stolen?

There's not much here.
I don't think anything is missing.

Apart from Zorro.


Our son's pet rat.
It seized the chance to escape.

Yes, okay...

Did you notice anything in particular?

Such as?

Their height, their size,
a distinctive voice?

It all happened so fast.

They may have shouted something.

In what language?

Hard to tell.

Flemish, French, foreign?

I really couldn't say.


I'll write "foreign men".

No! I just told you I don't know.


Mum! Your phone's ringing.

Just a sec.

It's Flo!

My father-in-law
bought this house ages ago.

We've always been happy here.

No reason why that should change.

We own an advertising agency in Germany.

All right.

There were rumours we would be in charge -

- of the electoral campaign
for an important party.

Maybe someone's trying to scare us.

Out here?

I'd be surprised.

- We'll be in touch.
- Thank you. Goodnight.


Go to Emma.

Don't you want to check
whether they're still in the garden?

They'll be long gone by now.

- There's no point.
- Please.

Hey! Anybody there?

What are you doing?

Who's there?

There's nothing here.

Let's not make this a habit.

We're going back home tomorrow.


We can do something nice in town.

But I wanted to visit Amélie tomorrow.

You can see her next time.

I promised her.

We were just unlucky this time.

Can I have the jam?

- Hey.
- Good morning.


- You've got a message.
- Really? Let me see.

- See you tonight.
- Bye, Mum.

Emma, can you clear away
your plate, please?

They're all saying,
"Yes, Europe, that's great," but...

Could you turn that off? Thanks.

I'm glad you could make it.

Where's your wife?

She couldn't come.

Pity. I was hoping to finally meet her.

- Oh, well. Come in.
- Thank you.

In that case, I could well imagine
voting for them again.

You talked before about uncertainty.

I'd call it brutalization.

People come from different cultures
and when you... How can I put it?

When you mix them,
conflicts become inevitable.


The same problems
get rehashed over and over, -

- others are completely forgotten,
but it's partly...

If we want to win the election...

we'll have to adopt a new mindset.

The strategy is in place.

The question is how we package it.

What is this strategy?

We need to be provocative.

We just have to be louder.

These days,
you don't win elections with empathy.

But I don't have to tell you that.

I just don't want to be
afraid any more on our streets.

That's what I meant...

- Morning.
- Morning.

- Morning, Niklas.
- Morning.

- Hi, morning.
- Hanna.

- Do you want to see the first designs?
- Sure. I'll be right there.

- I think that's too tame. Right?
- Yes.

That can go.

Jan, -

- can you come here a minute?

"For the upcoming
European election campaign -

- the crisis-prone party
has hired a new agency."

"The campaign
will be run by Nous Sommes..."

"Jan Peeters and his wife, who have
already made a name for themselves -"

- in the industry
with their innovative work...

"Political communication, however,
is completely new territory for them."

How did they get wind of this?

- Have you talked to Nina about it?
- Not yet.

It's late.

Client dinner.

Until now?

I'm going to the theatre
tomorrow night with my brother.

Can you pick up Max from choir practice?



Come on.

- Hi, Dad.
- Hey. I'll take that.

So, ready for the concert?

I don't know.

Isn't Mum eating with us?

Not in here and not during dinner.

- Zorro's scared of being alone.
- Nonsense.

Put him back in his cage.

You have to sign this.

- Bon appetit.
- Bon appetit.

Just sign.

What's with all this absenteeism?

It may be a good idea
to talk to your head teacher about this.

Just sign it.

I don't understand why we haven't
heard about this before.

- Dad! Everything's cool.
- Cool?

How nice for you.
You're still our responsibility. Max!

Are you coming? I don't believe it.

What do you do all day?

Fine, I'll sign the letter.

But promise me
that you'll show it to your mum, too.

All right?

So, how was your brother?

"Jan Peeters and his wife."

The campaign manager
approached me. Karsten Beck.

We've met a couple of times.

Why didn't you tell me?

I was going to.



They really want to go big.

We'll be given completely free rein.

You've already negotiated?

There's a lot of money involved.

What with the budget cuts
on the Clear Viewer project...

we could really use this.

Of course I told him
I'd talk to you first.

After all,
it's mainly your ideas they want.

My ideas?


We agreed
we wouldn't do political parties.

Don't be so dogmatic.

They're not the worst clients by far.

That's not the issue.

Are you kidding me?

We can't refuse this now.

What does that mean?

All we have to do is sign.

I can't believe it.


Are you back?


You're such a fucking coward.

I can't sleep.

- How was singing practice?
- Boring.

I don't want to go there any more.

Go to sleep.


- What's going on?
- No idea.

Are you okay?

- I'm going out.
- No, call the police.

No, that's exactly
the attention they want.

I won't be slaughtered like this!


Are the servers down, too?

Max, put your seatbelt on properly.

As a representative
of the German police explained today -

- the reason for the terrorism alert
and evacuation -

- was a simple spelling mistake.

The security service was alerted
after the presence of two persons -

- whose names were not on the list
of authorised people, were detected.

The men's Arabic-sounding names
had simply been spelt wrongly.

The two men were stage workers.

This error triggered
a whole series of safety measures.

The police decided to evacuate
the festival, creating a wave of panic.

Many people were injured.

Among them, young Belgians -

- who go to the German festival
every year...

Wake up, kids. We're here.

It stinks in here again.

Could you let some air
into the living room?

- Have you seen my phone?
- You're holding it.

I meant my personal one.

Can you clean out the rat cage?


Fuck! Who's there?

Where is this fucking thing?

- Mum?
- Emma!

What's going on?

There's someone here.
They ran down the stairs.

- There's no one here.
- There is!


Don't worry. They're gone.

You don't need to be afraid.

You've got blood on your face.

It's nothing. Come on.



Could you open the door?


What is it?

I found your phone.

What? Where?

That's great.

Thank you.

Are we really going home today?


What if Zorro comes back
and I'm not there?

He can take care of himself.

I think I have to stay here.

I think Max is right.

Oh, come on.

I told the agency I'd be back tonight.

You can change your plans.

- Please, Dad.
- Honestly!

We'll talk to him again
after breakfast, all right?

Quick, quick!

Cold, cold, cold!

Cold, cold.

Here you go.

In you get.


Are you crazy?


You can't catch me!

Come on.

Mum, help me!




You're freezing.

- We went for a swim.
- It wasn't too cold?

- It wasn't cold at all.
- Hi, little brother.

- Are you okay?
- Yes, and you?

- Hi, Jan.
- How are you?


May I introduce Alexander?

I wanted him to see the house.

- The house?
- And you, too, of course.

- Flo has told me a lot about you.
- Nice to meet you.

- Dad, help!
- Max!

- Alexander.
- Hi. Emma.


Want to go into the bushes?

Those two.




He went inside.

I think I may even
have something for you two.


Flo didn't exaggerate.
The house really is amazing.

Yes. We're all really attached to it.

When we moved to Germany with our mum,
there was one summer we couldn't go.

- It was tragic.
- And why not?

Our parents couldn't agree.

But then we came here every summer.

We left them no choice.

Come over here.

There's more room.


Look up!




I'm going to Amélie's.


Just be home for dinner.

- Seven at the latest.
- Yeah.

See you later.


Come over here.

There's more room.

We can't hide anything from you, Frédéric.

You see the car and you decide
not to stop? Come on!

And since
when do you stay open off-season?

We won't see each other, then?

Don't worry, I understand.

Yes, I will.



- Did you know your brother was coming?
- Look up!

Well, he called last night.
I told him what happened.

He said he might want to come.

And where are they going to sleep?

In the children's room.

Flo was just worried.

So that's where you're hiding.

- Am I interrupting?
- Not at all.

I've got an idea.

What would you say
if I invited you to dinner?


Yeah, to take your mind off things.

Nothing's open right now.


I don't think so.

I can try to call him.

Isn't Frédéric's a bit expensive?

Well, shall I book a table, then?

Please do.

The sheets are clean.
The kids slept in our room yesterday.

Don't worry.

Which bed do you want?

- Spider-Man, of course.
- He's sweet, right?

It used to be mine.

No, it's Max's.

It is now. But it used to be mine.

- I gave it to him.
- Oh, right.

Yeah, that's right.

It's his, but you're allowed
to sleep there.

- Shall we push the beds together?
- Yeah, sure.

You two do it. I'm so tired,
I could go to sleep right now.

Oh, what a lord!

- What?
- Little bro.

- Did you just call me a lord?
- Lord.

Right. There you go.

- Great.
- Perfect.

Have you seen Max anywhere?

He's in the garden with his helicopter.

Not any more.

- Have you looked in the living room?
- I just did.

Maybe we should help him look?

Are you all right?


Don't worry.


Didn't you notice he was gone?


If you'd taken care of your kids instead
of your brother, we wouldn't be here.

Are you fucking kidding me?


I've found him!


Zorro is dead.

I buried him.

Max's back?

Is everything all right?

Flo said you're in real estate.

Yes, I'm an independent agent.

We've been wanting a larger flat
for ages, but never get around to it.

It's like that for most people.

I've got some time at the moment.

Maybe you can help me?

With pleasure.

Just give me a call next week.

I will.

You're very beautiful.

Old witch!

- What's going on now?
- I think Emma's got back.

Fuck! Who's there?

Where is this fucking thing?

- Mum?
- Emma!

What's going on?

There's someone here.
They ran down the stairs.

- There's no one here.
- There is!


Mum, calm down!

What are you doing?

Where's Max?

In his room.

I like your jacket.

- Are you sure?
- Yes, take it.

All right. Thank you.

- Have you got a fag?
- Yeah.

- Hi.
- Hi, Amélie.

Emma, come and sit over here.

Lucas. Emma.

- Emma. Lucas.
- Nice to meet you.

- Do you want some?
- Yes.

Careful, there's whisky in it.


We are everywhere!

Hey, stop.

I can't take any more.

- Where's your friend?
- I don't know.

Let's go and find her.

I have to go.

Why? It's only eight o'clock.

You're weird.


Where are you going?

Hey, wait for me.

Piss off!

Didn't we say back at seven?

- Were you out with Amélie?
- You know I was.

And where?

At her place.

Shall I call her parents?

Don't lie to me.

You're the liars around here!

You promised not to speak
to my head teacher.

I'm sorry,
but we were worried about you.

Get your hands off me!

Emma, please.
Let's go and have a nice dinner.

I'm not coming!

Don't refuse my invitation.

I'm not hungry.



Look out!

There you are.

- The lemon tartlet is for me!
- As usual.

That's unbelievable.

Did you see these?

- Careful.
- Why don't we get another one?

- I wouldn't mind.
- That's for me.

Anouk, bring us another bottle
and a glass.

- That's really nice of you.
- Thank you.

I'm glad you're here.

The welcome was quite original this time.

Could we maybe move on?

If it carries on like this,
the tourists will stop coming.

What do you mean?

Does it happen often?

Not until now, but...

- Come on, you're exaggerating.
- You think it's locals did it?

- We never had any problems.
- No.

- And neither did Dad, right?
- No. Never.

Well, if you don't want to see it...

If Dad hadn't hidden,
the burglars would've beaten him up, too.


What do you mean hidden?

He waited outside
till the burglars were gone.

What are you saying?
I was at the supermarket.

How do you know?
Weren't you in your room?

I saw him through the window.

Why are you talking such nonsense, Max?

Where was Dad hiding?

What kind of question is that?

Do you really think I'd hide
when there are burglars in the house?

Where did you see him?

I was on the phone with Hendrik.
That's probably what you saw.

Since when do you hide
to make phone calls?

This discussion
is getting a bit ridiculous.

- You think it's ridiculous?
- No, but...

Nina! Nina...

Be careful what you tell people.

They might believe it.

It's been three weeks since I stopped.


Everything okay between you two?

Why do you ask?

Oh, you're talking about that.
That's from yesterday.

I bumped into the door. I was so scared.

You've always been fearful.

What do you mean?

Back then, you always ran away...

whenever things got serious.

But we were kids.

I think I'm getting a bit nostalgic.

Are you completely nuts?


Go back to sleep.

Where are the others?

Still at the restaurant.

Max said Dad was hiding
when the burglars were here.

Can you imagine?

That's nonsense.

I'm sorry about the thing
with the head teacher.

It's okay.

- Morning.
- Morning.


- Morning.
- Morning.

I thought I'd show Jan
the pitch for next week.

- Excellent. Outline that a bit more.
- Hang on.

That's it.

I'd suggest something like this.

I'm fine with it.

With what?

Do the election campaign,
if you think it's important.


You can head up the creative team.

Nina, I can't do it without you.

Why not?

I've never headed up such a big project.

Then this will be the first time.

It's great what you're doing.

Can I talk to you for a second?

What's the matter?

I want to help my brother
market his new company.

You can do both, can't you?

I want to leave.

I want to leave the agency.


You heard me.


Can't we talk this over in private?

It won't change anything.

You can't just leave
because of a problem with one project.

- One project?
- Yeah.

We're waiting for approval.

I'll be with you in a minute.

I'm just trying
to help the agency, that's all.

- Yes.
- Yes.

And I don't want to stand in your way.

You've always wanted this one, right?

What are you doing?

I'll get the rest later.

This stays here.

- Stop it.
- You can't decide this on your own.

You have to stop this nonsense.

You don't even want to go, right?

You're just trying to scare me, right?

Just so I'm scared. Right?

I want...

It's all right again, isn't it?

The police called today.

What did they want?

They found videos on the internet
and suspect it could be our burglars.

They want me to go
and look at them this week.

At such short notice?

I wanted some time on my own anyway.

I'll come with you, of course.

This concerns me, too.

I turned down the campaign.

Beck is furious.

- Shall we continue?
- I'm coming.

These videos were posted
on several social networks.

We think that they were filmed
somewhere around here.

I don't recognise anything.

The voice?

- It's definitely not our house.
- No.

Why are they recording it?

It's a new trend.

They film all kinds of bullshit,
so they can show it off on the internet.

We're everywhere!

Even when someone gets beaten up.

Hey, stop!

Could you come upstairs for a minute?

You were in our room
when Max came up, right?

Yes, I was making the beds.

We probably surprised those guys.

They probably hid in this room.

Then when Max came into his room...

they legged it, and then -

- you saw them running down the stairs.

Is that still important?

Did you see them or not?

There were shadows in the hallway.

- So you didn't see them?
- I heard their voices.

That's not the same.

Are you telling me I imagined it?

Is the door to the garden open?

Yes. Why?

No, wait.

It can't be.

I heard voices when I was here.

It can't be.

We should have realised earlier.

Oh my God...

We should tell the police.

Better not...

I can't believe it.

I can't be that stupid.

Oh no.

- And voilà.
- In you go. Slowly.

Mind the step. A little step.

And turn left.

- Now you can look.
- Wow!


And this is where the sofa will be.

What's back there?

Look over here.

And in terms of the rent,
I think there's room for negotiation.

You take the small room,
I want the big one.

And this will be your wardrobe.

The duvet here.

Everything nice and tidy.


You and Dad will sleep here.

Dad will probably want my room, -

- because of the large window.

Dad is not moving in with us.

Will he still be living at home?

Will you stop fighting, then?

But we almost never did.

Will I have my own room in both flats?

Stop asking stupid questions.

Do you like it?


School is only ten minutes away.

I want to stay in the old flat with Dad.

But you wanted your own room?

You never asked us what we wanted.

Fuck! Who's there?

Come on! Hurry!



What's going on?

There's someone here.
They ran down the stairs.

- There's no one here.
- There is!


Mum, calm down!

What are you doing?

Anybody there?

What are you doing?

Who's there?

You haven't eaten anything?

Are you nervous?

Should we wait for you?

I'll come later.

Shall we go?


- Bye, Dad.
- Bye.

Max! Hurry up!

What's wrong? We've got to go now.

- Max?
- I don't want to go to the concert!

You've been preparing for it all year.

I don't care!


- Stop this nonsense. Come out now.
- No!

- We're all going together.
- No!


Did something bad happen
at choir practice?

You always liked to sing.

I have a suggestion.
Today you sing one last time.

Then we'll discuss what to do next.

Max, enough is enough.

Max, open the door!

If he doesn't want to go,
he doesn't want to go.

It would be better if you encouraged him.

Max, it's not funny any more.

Okay, we won't go to the concert,
but please open the door.


Max, say something, please!


Max! Open the goddamn door!

What is he doing?

Max, that's enough now!

Do you want me to make you a sandwich?