"I want to give a view of the world that can only emerge by not pursuing any particular theme, by refraining from passing judgment, proceeding without aim. Drifting with no direction except... See full summary »
Robin A Townsend
Ulrich Seidls follow wealthy tourists going on safari to kill often endangered species. Some determinedly searching for trophies, others to enjoy. Even if every prey comes at a price., they... See full summary »
In the tomb-like quiet of their ranch-style purgatory, a divorced husband and wife fight a wordless war while mourning an unspeakable mutual loss. A sadistic lover's ritual humiliation spawns both tenderness and revenge.
The question of domestic slavery in our globalized world, while emphasizing those women's determination, sisterhood and the strategies they find to face the obstacles that awaits them in the near future.
A documentary on the effect of fishing the Nile perch in Tanzania's Lake Victoria. The predatory fish, which has wiped out the native species, is sold in European supermarkets, while starving Tanzanian families have to make do with the leftovers.
Elizabeth 'Eliza' Maganga Nsese,
Raphael Tukiko Wagara,
The final installment in Ulrich Seidl's Paradise trilogy, 'Paradise: Hope' tells the story of overweight thirteen-year-old Melanie and her first love. While her mother travels to Kenya ('... See full summary »
Set in the Watts area of Los Angeles, a slaughterhouse worker must suspend his emotions to continue working at a job he finds repugnant, and then he finds he has little sensitivity for the family he works so hard to support.
Henry G. Sanders,
I saw this film at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival. After you see this film, you'll never complain about your job again. Subtitled something like "Five Portraits of Work in the Twenty-First Century," Glawogger's documentary features some of the most dangerous, difficult, or just plain unpleasant work in the world.
Each segment except the last one is about twenty-five minutes long, and is shot without any voice-over narration and very little editorializing. We are simply presented with people working and talking about their work. The director possesses a very painterly sense of composition, and we're often presented with shots of workers posing as if they were in front of a still camera. The camera-work is even more impressive when it is moving, and I often found myself wondering how they were able to film in some of these conditions.
The segments follow, in order, a group of miners in Ukraine who have dug their own coal shafts, a group of men in Indonesia who collect sulfur from an active volcano and haul it down the mountainside, butchers at an open-air slaughterhouse in Nigeria, men who break apart rusting ships for scrap metal in Pakistan, and steelworkers in China. Although all of these workers are merely surviving, the thing that struck me most was how contented, even happy, most of them were.
That being said, three of the five segments featured Islamic societies, and I found myself wondering about the connections between the conditions these men were working in and the rise of Islamic radicalism. Among the shipbreakers in Pakistan, for instance, there was an interesting segment which followed a photographer who circulated among the men charging them a fee to take pictures of them holding an assault rifle. There was no voice-over, but I got the impression that these men wanted to be seen as revolutionaries instead of just subsistence scrap workers.
The most intense segment had to be among the butchers, and there was quite a lot of blood and gore evident as we watched the men work. But strangely, I found this a more honest approach to the production of food than I saw in the factory farms in a film like We Feed The World. These butchers are "hands-on," literally.
The final segment, filmed among steelworkers in China, was the shortest, and the least interesting, but the director was trying to end with the optimism of the Chinese workers for the steel industry, which he contrasts with shots of a defunct steel mill in Germany that's been turned into an art installation. His point was slightly unclear, but overall, his unflinching eye for detail, even in some harrowing work environments, makes this documentary a must- see.
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