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Labour Law Free Work Explored In International Doc

Labour Law Free Work Explored In Int'l Doco

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Screening Times

Workingman's Death 25-Jul-06 Paramount Wellington
Workingman's Death 25-Jul-06 Te Papa Wellington
Workingman's Death 29 July-06 Sky City Auckland
Workingman's Death 30 July 06 Village 5 Auckland

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The world's most horrible, life-endangering jobs are the subject of Austrian Michael Glawogger's superbly cinematic, confrontingly aestheticised documentary.

In the Ukraine men crawl through the cramped shafts of illegal coal mines to eke out a living. Tourists watch as sulphur gatherers in East Java brave the gaseous heat of an active volcano. In Nigeria, blood and the stench of burning flesh are routine for workers at a vast open-air abattoir. In Pakistan men use little more than their bare hands to dismantle beached oil tankers for scrap metal

Glawogger's elegiac and revelatory documentary shows in the most visceral fashion imaginable that, for all the recent attention paid to the phenomenon of call-centres or various forms of offshore commerce, a great deal of work in the developing world is still of the back-breaking, life-threatening variety.

His work heaves with sorrow and with pity. The immensity of its abjection appals. And yet, always, he insists on demonstrating the will to survive of these wretched of the earth. 'Sukhdev Sandhu, New Statesman'

A purer form of hell is found in a Nigerian slaughter yard where the bleating animals (graphically portrayed) seem more human than the men and women killing, portioning, roasting, selling and praying. In Pakistan, proud, devout Pashtuns find work shipbreaking - taking apart giant vessels at the end of their use.

In the hull of one of these dead giants being sliced apart, as in the 16-inch-high crawlspace in the Ukrainian mine, Glawogger's camera is as unflinching as its subjects. Image making is work made visible. Music by John Zorn is composed to the rhythms and spirit of each locale." Judy Bloch, San Francisco International Film Festival

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