Glawogger-who directed a similar conceptual film “Megacities” (1998), about various human destinies in variety of giant urban areas around the world-has this time chosen another global subject for his film: men around the world carrying out hard and dangerous manual labour. Though this kind of work is disappearing from the Western world, the film bears witness to its existence in parts of Asia and Africa.
It is a film that doesn’t draw in the audience by inviting them to identify with a few main characters; its fascination lies in its cinematographic beauty. It is a film comprised of stunning images, a carefully nurtured soundtrack and artful editing.
The theme is presented with clips from old Chinese and Soviet propaganda films that glorify the working man. The rest of the film shows the less glorifying reality of the workingman of today. Whether Ukrainian mine workers, Indonesian sulphur gatherers, Nigerian slaughtermen, Pakistani shipwreck-dismantlers or Chinese steelworkers, they do it not out of enthusiasm for their work, they do it to survive, to feed their families.
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