A music critic in midlife crisis seeks revenge on the boss who fired him in this satirical seriocomedy, the directorial debut of actor Josef Hader (THE BONEMAN, STEFAN ZWEIG: FAREWELL TO EUROPE). Unwilling to come clean about his termination, Georg (Hader) pretends to go to work each day, but instead hangs out in Vienna’s Prater amusement park, where he befriends ride operator Erich (Georg Friedrich), previously his childhood tormentor. Georg becomes increasingly attracted to Erich’s Romanian girlfriend Nicoletta (Crina Semciuc), more alienated from his therapist wife, Johanna (Pia Hierzegger) and more aggressive in his stealth harassment of his ex-boss (Jörg Hartmann). Official Selection, 2017 Berlin Film Festival. DIR/SCR Josef Hader; PROD Veit Heiduschka, Michael Katz. Austria/Germany, 2017, color, 103 min. In German and Italian with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Run Time: 103 Minutes
Genre: Dark comedy
HIDDEN FIGURES is the incredible untold story of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe)—brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.
HIDDEN FIGURES: THE AMERICAN DREAM AND THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE BLACK WOMEN MATHEMATICIANS WHO HELPED WIN THE SPACE RACE recovers the history of these pioneering women and situates it in the intersection of the defining movements of the American century: the Cold War, the Space Race, the Civil Rights movement and the quest for gender equality. (opens Jan 13 2017)
Starting in 2011 artist, curator, and author Antje Ehmann and filmmaker, video artist and author Harun Farocki initiated video production workshops in 15 cities around the world in which participants were to engage with the subject of ‘labour’: paid and unpaid, material and immaterial, traditional or new. The videos could not be longer than two minutes and they had to be taken in a single shot. The camera could be static, panning or travelling but cuts were not allowed. This concept references the Brother Lumière’s famous film Workers Leaving the Factory which was filmed in one continuous take from a fixed camera position.
The result of these workshops, which were organised together with local branches of the Goethe-Institut, are 400 films which show people engaged in all kinds of work, each film taking a different stance, literally and figuratively, towards its subject while also recording the diverse mental attitudes and bodily relation people have to their work.
Facing the challenge of filming something that might be essentially repetitive, continuous and boring, the films also foreground the work of the camera operator and his or her aesthetic decisions. In the multitude and diversity the films form a visual compendium and an archive of labour and cinema in the 21st century that is never boring or repetitive but enhances and simultaneously questions our perception and understanding of work.
All the films can be watched on a dedicated website, at random, or sorted by city, colour or type of work. A selection of 90 films was shown as an installation at the House of World Culture in Berlin from 27 February to 6 April 2015 with an accompanying conference. This exhibition also presented the project ‘Workers Leaving the Factory in 15 Cities’ (2011 – 2014), consisting of contemporary remakes of the famous film by the Lumière Brothers which were shot in 15 cities all over the world. Also included in the exhibition was the installation ‘Workers Leaving the Factory in Eleven Decades’ (2006), which showed scenes of workers leaving the factory throughout the history of cinema, from the Lumière Brothers (1895) to Lars van Trier’s Dancer in the Dark (2000).
‘Labour in a Single Shot’ is a co-production of the Harun Farocki Filmproduktion with the Goethe-Institut.
Director: Gary Burns
Writers: Gary Burns, James Martin, Patrick McLaughlin
This satirical lens into office work, corporate culture, and urban life involves a wager between co-workers as to who can last the longest without venturing outdoors. With their office building connected to both a well-stocked shopping center and their apartments, this appears a cinch. However, nearly a month into the contest at a retirement party, things go awry when one of the bettors, assigned to follow the CEO, discovers an unsavory secret about him.
Director: Sydney Sibilia
Writers: Valerio Attanasio, Andrea Garello, Sydney Sibilia
A university researcher is fired because of the cuts to the university. To earn a living, he decides to produce drugs recruiting his former colleagues, who despite their skills are living at the margins of society.
Director: Tony Kaye
Writer: Carl Lund
A strong cast and good acting punctuate this drama about well-worn themes in contemporary cinema and educational discourse—failed public schools and the teachers allegedly indifferent to the pervasive, seemingly intractable social problems in them. Adrien Brody plays a substitute teacher who, in his one-month stint in a long-suffering public school, encounters teachers barely hanging on to their jobs and vocational motivation, and teenage students struggling with identity problems, abuse, and serious adult dilemmas such as prostitution. Hard-hitting indictment of not just the problems afflicting US public education but also some of the remedies advanced to solve them.
Directed by Zhang Wei
With: Yao Anlian, Tang Yan, Zhao Ju, Huang Jingyi, Gao Xueqin, Yun Mengjie; Chen Liang. (Mandarin dialogue)
The title figure in “Factory Boss” is one who normally garners little sympathy, particularly in the West, where cheap Chinese labor has undercut local production. Yet helmer Zhang Wei and thesp Yao Anlian create a complex character virtually impossible not to identify with, at least partially: Caught between a rock and a hard place — the paper-thin profit margins offered by Western conglomerates vs. rising worker demands at home — he inevitably winds up treating everyone unfairly, including himself. For growing ranks of China watchers, “Factory Boss” offers an engrossing expose of the built-in impasses of global economics from an unexplored perspective.
Ronnie Scheib, Variety
A businessman and a carpet installer enjoy a wild and playful friendship, but when their class-conscious bosses pressure them to steer clear of each other, the Romeo and Juliet of the workaday world must decide what’s more important: how we make a living, or who we’re living for.
Directed by: Derek Frey