Category Archives: Philosophy

Labour in a Single Shot

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.


Tony Benn: Will and Testament

Director: Skip Kite
Writer: Skip Kite
90 Minutes

In this unique autobiographical feature, Tony Benn – one of the UK’s most influential and charismatic political figures – presents his personal reflections on life, work, love and loss through intimate, confessional interviews, wonderfully illustrated by his personal photographic and film archives. Criss-crossing the UK, he bears witness to major social and political upheavals and events that influenced him during his life and political career.
–Written by Tony Kite


Women’s Day (Dzien Kobiet)

Halina is promoted to store manager of the supermarket chain „Motylek“ („Butterfly“). But her life as chief is just transient when she finds herself being abandoned by the system for being overly humane. Social-critical feature film debut by the famous Polish musician Maria Sadowska.’ The chains’ name ‘Butterfly’ is a paraphrase of an existing Portuguese-owned chain of discount supermarkets in Poland, which were infamous for the treatment of the workforce until unionised by NSZZ “Solidarność”


The Hawks and the Sparrows (Uccellacci e uccellini) [1966]

89m; Italy

Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini

Contact: Totò, Ninetto Davoli and Femi Benussi

Synopsis: Humorous jaunt of working class young man and father to the big city accompanied by a crow who talks revolution and whom they eventually kill and eat.


False Profits (2009)


Director: AIDC & WWMP

Synopsis: The first documentary film for both organisations and it focuses on the current global economic crisis – its impact on the working class and the responses by trade unions, government and big business in South Africa. It includes interviews with leading trade unionists, workers, community members, NGO workers and academics.  The film is decidedly leftwing and critical in its approach and attempts to explain the crisis in Marxist terms and poses serious questions about alternative responses to the crisis, that constantly impacts negatively on the working class and the world’s poor. Moreover, this current crisis is also ecological and renders capitalism unsustainable and a threat to life on Earth. –


The Sun Seekers (2009)

13m; U.S.

Director: Jason Bradbury

Synopsis (IMDB): In a world with no sun, two strangers, Cira and Sol, race against time to ensure the restoration of daylight. As their journey progresses, they realise they must learn to trust each other if they are to complete their task.

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Posted by on May 7, 2012 in Philosophy, SciFi


Surplus: Terrorized Into Being Consumers (2003)

54m; Sweden

Director: Erik Gandini & Johan Söderberg

Synopsis (Wikipedia): An award winning 2003 Swedish documentary film on consumerism and globalization, created by director Erik Gandini and editor Johan Söderberg. It looks at the arguments for capitalism and technology, such as greater efficiency, more time and less work, and argues that these are not being fulfilled, and they never will be. The film leans towards anarcho-primitivist ideology and argues for ‘a simple and fulfilling life’.


The Hedgehog (2009)

100m; France

Director: Mona Achache

Cast: Josiane Balasko, Garance Le Guillermic and Togo Igawa

Synopsis (IMDB): Paloma is a serious and highly articulate but deeply bored 11-year-old who has decided to kill herself on her 12th birthday. Fascinated by art and philosophy, she questions and documents her life and immediate circle, drawing trenchant and often hilarious observations on the world around her. But as her appointment with death approaches, Paloma finally meets some kindred spirits in her building’s grumpy janitor and an enigmatic, elegant neighbor, both of whom inspire Paloma to question her rather pessimistic outlook on life.


Our Daily Bread (1934)

80m; U.S.

Director: King Vidor

Cast: Karen MorleyTom Keene and Barbara Pepper

Synopsis (IMDB): John and Mary sims are city-dwellers hit hard by the financial fist of The Depression. Driven by bravery (and sheer desperation) they flee to the country and, with the help of other workers, set up a farming community – a socialist mini-society based upon the teachings of Edward Gallafent. The newborn community suffers many hardships – drought, vicious raccoons and the long arm of the law – but ultimately pull together to reach a bread-based Utopia.


The Philosopher Kings (2009)

70m; U.S.

Director: Patrick Shen

Synopsis: Some people we revere, some we despise and others we simply ignore. The figure of the invisible janitor at last acquires a face, name, and personality in this probing look at the wisdom that comes from lives lived fully.

Contact: Premiered at SilverDocs 2009 Eileen Street, The Philosopher Kings PR Coordinator (510) 910-5778