Erik Gandini / Sweden, Italy, Norway / 2023 / 81 min / World Premiere
A thought-provoking film that looks at the phenomenon of work in the 21st century with the razor sharp X-ray vision and equally sharp humour. From Kuwait to Korea, from the US to Europe, and from nine to five – with Swedish mastermind Erik Gandini behind the camera.
Kuwait’s constitution says that every person has the right to a job, so in some places 20 people are employed for one person’s job. In South Korea, they work so much that a policy has been introduced to turn off computers at the end of the day so that employees can’t work any more. In the US, they give up over 500 million holiday hours each year, while Amazon’s drivers are trying to form a union. Meanwhile, robots are poised to take over most jobs and put the rest of us out of work. Work is so crucial to our identity and what we spend our waking hours on that it is barely noticed anymore. A lot has happened since a group of Puritan priests invented the concept of work ethic in the 1600s, and in the 21st century the very concept of work is in many ways disintegrating. A perfect situation for a filmmaker like Swedish mastermind Erik Gandini, who travels the world to explore what the concept of work means today – if it means anything at all. A perceptive film with an X-ray eye for details, shot through with dark, existentialist humour.