“You see, wherever you look, only vanity is on the ground. What this day builds, that tomorrow rips apart.” With the famous poem by Andreas Griffius – from 1637! – He begins a documentary about the change in work, which was observed in the former motor cities of Bochum and Detroit. The directors allowed the inhabitants of these cities to read lines of the Baroque poet, which seemed strange to them, but also experienced the fleetingness of everything on Earth: “It is as if he understood it,” one of them comments. “It sounds like a depression,” another.
How do people deal with it when their livelihood suddenly collapses? How do cities survive when tens of thousands of jobs are lost in one fell swoop? “We Are Detroit,” directed by Ulrike Franke and Michael Loeken, which will be in theaters starting Thursday, shows parallels between Detroit’s “Motor City” with ghost areas and Bochum, where the “innovation district” on the site of a former Opel was located. Create the eloquent name “Mark 51° 7”. They meet in Detroit urban gardeners And tailors of “perfect” jeans watch the opening of the DHL parcel parlour in Bochum with 600 precarious jobs. Do such projects replace an entire industry?
Kids with supposed dream jobs are, after all, mere henchmen of rich corporations
Since the pandemic, the question of how we want (and how we can) act in the future has become more pressing. Is the four-day week or the five-hour day coming? Will there finally be more women on boards? How about right in the home office? will digital leaders perform differently? “We Are All Detroit” looks wistfully at the end of the industrial age, as if working in a steel mill or an automobile factory was always a nice thing. Previous guest workers at Opel were not asked about this.
The Munich Dockfest, which runs until May 22nd, is launching one of its film series “Brave New Work”. It already bears the dystopian character of many of the ideas in its title. What does it look like, the brave new world of work that is replacing the workbench and assembly line? According to the filmmakers, digitization has not only changed the professional world itself, but has also changed many people’s idea of what a “good” job can actually be.
Jimmy and Nico seem to have achieved what many dream of: they don’t have to deal with annoying bosses and earn big income – by posting their sex as a “verified couple” on the internet. “Pornfluencer” by Joscha Bongard shows them in action and as lovers, which is almost the same. They start the day with motivational phrases in front of the mirror: “I am beautiful”, “I deserve to be rich” or “Every woman thinks I am a nymphomaniac.” This is followed by fitness training, shooting mini movies, later processing and posting on social media: Jamie’s sexy but adult videos on Tiktok aim to attract users on Twitter, with the following link leading to paid porn for the two.
“Pornfluencer” leaves the viewer confused, the film is increasingly disturbing. Jamie says some of her friends couldn’t understand why she was doing porn, which Jamie doesn’t: “I make a lot of money, I do a good job, I feel free, I have a nico—I can’t do better than that.” Meanwhile, Niko is sitting next to her with his legs wide apart (who knows the meaning of the word the man She wants to see a photographer, and she can’t find a better example) and be recognized as her “boss”. Coming from the pickup truck scene, he chats with 18-year-old virgin Jamie in sex movies, which he says he enjoys more than you do. But Jimmy doesn’t seem to mind at all.
Even if the sex trade is a niche – influencers, YouTubers or gamers are the new dream jobs of many young people. “Girl Gang” by Susan Regina Meyers accompanies Leonie, who has over a million followers on Tiktok as “Leoobalys.” She was 14 when the movie begins, her father is also her manager, and soon almost the entire family’s life revolves around Leonie’s design, appointments, advertising jobs (in her posts praising fashion, cosmetics, or fast food) and their performances in front of screaming young men. Later the family had its own online store.
The movie “Dragon Woman” talks about the difficulties she faces in being a manager and a mother
Self-exploitation and self-realization are one of them in this “beautiful” new world of work. The father says he is living his daughter’s dream, but you can also see – guys, please read with them! – That Leonie is under increasing pressure, she hardly has any “real” girlfriends and sometimes she gets really bad hate comments. It is well known how disruptive social media can be. This is also explained by a fan of Leonie: Melanie, whose unrequited “love” for her favorite Tiktok idol has defined her thinking and all her free time for years.
Leonie and Jamie are two sides of digital capitalism, which is not only put off by product placement and self-marketing by influencers. It is reported that children with supposed dream jobs are just followers of billionaires’ worth of companies. In addition, the videos convey an image of the constant pressure for performance and self-improvement, which is not easily integrated with interest groups or solidarity societies (eg labor unions). Does someone who only looks at their smartphone as if they are in the mirror have more connections on their mind? “Girl Gang” and “Pornfluencer” are pessimistic.
“Dragon Woman” by Frédéric de Montblanc, which depicts five women in management positions in finance, conveys that women’s networks (and women’s share!) can be a good idea. The filmmaker is surprisingly close to the directors: they talk about the networks of men and codes of men with which they have to work. About the difficulty (for some: an impossibility) of being a boss and a mother, about a life almost devoured by work. These are great encounters with amazing women – but you don’t really learn anything new. And that’s exactly the bad thing about it, that everyone knows where the bugs are and yet little progress has been made.
John Webster’s The Happy Worker dares to answer more basic questions. He explores why so many employees suffer from stress or even burnout, but his gentle critique of capitalism doesn’t make him intellectually far off. “After Work” by Alexander Riedel, which accompanies people who are about to retire, is even more useful. What does life change mean in a steel mill? Do you drive a bus, work as a teacher, a serial actress, or do family fishing? And what can fill the void after the end of paid work? Economic concepts cannot be extracted from Riedel’s observations. But they shed a different light on notions such as the four-day week or the five-hour day, opening up – where work is currently changing drastically – an area of positive utopia: after work as we know it, much can still come.
“We are all Detroit” It will be shown in cinemas from May 12, 2022, and all other films can be seen at the Munich Dockfest: until May 15 in the festival cinemas, until May 22 throughout Germany in the online program.