9 10
2005 121min

Workingman's death

  • English
  • English, Spanish, French, Dutch

Production Companies

Workingman's Death is a 2005 Austrian-German documentary film written and directed by Michael Glawogger. It premiered at the 2005 Venice Film Festival. The film deals with the extremes to which workers go to earn a living in several countries around the world. The film is composed of six differently titled chapters. The first five depict hazardous conditions of hard laborers around the world and the sixth shows contrasting scenes of youths in a former German industrial complex which had been converted into a leisure park

AWARDS: Best Documentary. Filmfestival of Tamil Nadu/ Best Documentary. "Primera Muestra de Cine Sozial”/ Special Award. VI Gdansk Docfilm Festival/ Best Documentary. Deutscher Filmpreis/ Special Jury Prize.  IDA DISTINGUISHED DOCUMENTARY ACHIEVEMENT AWARD/ Best Documentary Film. MESSAGE TO MAN FESTIVAL/ GOLDENE KADER. Austrian Association of Cinematographers/ Best Documentary. Durban International Film Festival/ Best Documentary. San Francisco International Film Festival/ Best Documentary Film Camera Work. Award for Innovative Production for Lotus Film/ Seeds of War. Full Frame Documentary Film Festival/ Best Documentary Film. CPH:DOX/ Griffon Award
OFFICIAL SELECTIONS: Mostra Internazionale d’Arte Cinematografica/ Toronto International Film Festival/  Vancouver International Film Festival / Leipzig Internationales Festival für Dokumentar/ Flanders International Film Festival/ Festival du nouveau cinéma/ Times bfi Film Festival/ Sao Paulo International Film Festival/  Ahilaba International Documentary Film Festival/ Duisburg Filmwoche/  DokMa Documentaries in Maribor/ CPH:dox – international documentary festival/ Dokumentarfilm- und Videofest/  Oslo International Film Festival/  Mailand Filmmaker Film & Video Festival/ Gijon International Film Festival for Young People/ Belgrad Human Rights Film Festival/ Zagreb Human Rights Film Festival/  Jakarta International Film Festival/ Istanbul International Meeting of Cinema and History/ Palm Springs / International Film Festival/ Rotterdam International Film Festival/ Goteborg/ Film Festival/ Victoria Independent Film & Video Festival/ Mexico Stadt International Contemporary Film Festival FICCO/ Whitehorse Available Light Film Festival/ Sofia International Film Festival/ Thessaloniki Documentary Festival/ Vilnius International Film Festival/ Trondheim Koszmorama Film Festival/ Istanbul International Film Festival/ Hong Kong International Film Festival/ Durham Full Frame Documentary Film Festival/ Kiew Ukrainian International Documentary Film Festival/ Singapur International Film Festival/ Boston Independent Film Festival/ Lisbon International Independent Film Festival/ San Francisco International Film Festival/ Turnhout Filmfestival/ Jeonju International Film Festival/ Athens International Film & Video Festival/ Planete Doc Review/ Transilvania International Film Festival/  Sydney Film Festival/ Durban International Film Festival/ Sarajevo Human Rights Film Festival/ Moskau International Film Festival/ Jerusalem International Film Festival/ Yerevan International Film Festival/ Aucland Telecom International Film Festival/ St. Petersburg “Message to Man“ International Documentary, Short and Animated Film Festival/ Telecom Film Festival/ Melbourne International Film Festival/ Brisbane International Film Festival/ Riga International Film Forum/ Calgary International Film Festival/ ”Docville“ Documentary Festival/ “Stranger Than Fiction“ Documentary Film Festival & Market/ Milwaukee International Film Festival/ Mar del Plata Independent Film Festival/ Stockholm Documentary Festival/ Kolkata Film Festival/ Chennai International Film Festival

Workingman’s death, the crude portraits of those who move the world

Premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2005, Working Man’s Death is a clever essay on the hard working environments of men and women struggling to live a life at the edge of dignity.

Filmed at the dawn of the new century, the documentary presents a series of portraits of workers in different parts of the world in a kind of cinematic review of the evolution of the conditions and aspirations of the labor force raised by modernity over the last century. The question is: What is a worker at the beginning of the 21st century?  

The film was made by the famous Austrian director Michael Glawogger, who structures a polyphonic testimony of the workers of the periphery in 6 chapters.

The forgotten miners of the snowy Dombas mine in Ukrania, the sulfur collectors on an active volcano in Indonesia, the butchers of an infernal open-air carnage in Nigeria, men disarming the scrap metal from a shipyard in Pakistan and the Steel workers at a plant called “The Future” in Liaoning in China make up the bulk of the film.

At the end of the film, a convenient and disturbing epilogue confronts us in our comfortable seats in our condition of average viewers and members, surely, of the middle class. During the shocking images of the film we have the opportunity to investigate in human nature through our most primitive device: the work.

The ancestral rites, the relationship of subordinates with political and economic power, the echoes of a heroic past or the influence of the maelstrom of a changing global market. The dilemmas emerge fresh and potent, while those who are portrayed flee from our eyes as the owners of a precarious future.

Crew