Michael GLAWOGGER / 2017 / digital / 122min. (Austria)
cinematopgrapher: Wolfgang THALER / editor: Ilse BUCHELT, Monika WILLI/ music: John ZORN
Workingman’s Death is a 2005 Austrian-German documentaly film written and directed by Michael GLAWOGGER. It premiered at the 2005 Venice Film FestivalThe 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:
1. Heroes – Miners of Donets Basin, Ukraine
2. Ghosts – Sulfur carriers in Ijen, Indonesia
3. Lions – Butchers in an open-air market in Port Harcourt, Nigeria
4. Brothers – Welders in the Gadani ship-breaking yard in Pakistan
5. The Future – Steel workers in Liaoning, China
6. Epilogue – Youths in Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord in Germany
“Workingman’s Death can be seen as a last hymn (thus, a John Zorn soundtrack) to the worker—Promethean allusions abound—but at the same time it is a chronicle of disappearance, not least of class consciousness, a moving and important contemporary document as well as another testament to its relentlessly globetrotting director’s universal curiosity.”
—Christoph HUBER and Olaf MÖLLER,Cinema Scope
Michael GLAWOGGER was born in Graz, Austria, on 3 December 1959. After graduating from high school he studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and the Vienna Film Academy. He began his career as an assistant camera operator, later working as cinematographer and finally as screenwriter and director. Between 1981 and 2013 he made numerous internationally acclaimed shorts, documentaries and feature films. In recent years he had also devoted himself to literary writing. His novel “69 Hotelzimmer” was published posthumously. Michael GLAWOGGER died in Monrovia, Liberia, in April 2014 while shooting “Untitled”. His premature death interrupted collaboration on a number of feature film projects, among others with writers such as Sybille BERG, Eva MENASSE, Michael OSTROWSKI and William T. VOLLMANN.