Workingman’s Death

by Michael Glawogger, Austria/Germany, 2005, 122’

Today’s manual workers are no longer celebrated with hymns of praise. They have to be content with encouraging each other that backbreaking work is better than no work at all…

In Ukraine, a group of men spend long days crawling through the cramped shafts of illegal coal mines. Sulphur collectors in Indonesia brave the smoky heat of an active volcano and the treacherous journey back down. Blood, fire and stench are routine for workers in a crowded open-air slaughterhouse in Nigeria. Pakistani men use little more than their bare hands to dismantle an abandoned oil tanker for scrap metal. Steelworkers in China fear they may be a dying breed…

 Five portraits of heavy manual labour, increasingly invisible in our technological 21st century.

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