LOOSERS AND WINNERS

Ulrike Franke
Germany 2006 | 96 Min. | DF
Q&A with: Michael Loeken, Ulrike Franke

Achim, you must put your shoes on and you must go to the fac­to­ry”, Rainer shouts down the phone. Because once again the Chi­nese are doing just as they please – in this case import­ing a Dort­mund coking plant, once the most modern in the world, which is soon to supply coke to Ger­many from China. What is now being dis­man­tled and cov­ered in Chi­nese char­ac­ters was once, in Achim’s and Rainer’s eyes “the most beau­ti­ful thing in the world”. They’ll be hang­ing up their hel­mets on the prover­bial peg. But before they do, they’re making life as tough as pos­si­ble for those who are ship­ping their jobs away, with German rules and reg­is­tra­tions, forms and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­ce­dures. If noth­ing else works, they simply cut a length off a ladder. Not easy to super­vise, these Chi­nese who slog seven days a week from dawn till dusk for star­va­tion wages, fight the good fight to achieve tar­gets and by way of thanks get to be pho­tographed with a gigan­tic red sash, and are sev­er­ly pun­ished if they go absent – while their man­ag­er dreams of his new Mer­cedes.

This is a film about glob­al­i­sa­tion that needs no words, nor to travel the globe. Close to the people, this is a linear account which trans­lates the cul­ture clash into laugh­er and tears by such devices as the point­ed use of (Far East­ern) music.