DOK.focus thematic series 2022:


THE HAPPY WORKER by John Webster

Brave new world of work? Hardly any other area of life today is subject to such radical changes. In a total of seven films, this year's DOK.focus thematic series sheds light on global perspectives of work in transition: We hear what motivates women to fight their way to the top in a world still dominated by men and experience the conflict of values between two generations of Croatian workers. We accompany the loss and rediscovery of the meaning of life on the way to retirement. And experience the crossing of both geographical and personal barriers in the name of work. Flurina Schnyder

The films

Belgium/South Korea/Switzerland 2021, Frédérique de Montblanc, 80 min., original with English subtitles

At high altitude, in the upper tiers of management in the finance industry, women remain a rarity. The film follows female protagonists in Europe and Asia who have worked their way to the top against all odds. In doing so, they often had to assert themselves not only against male elites but also against their own self-image.


Croatia 2021, Srđan Kovačević, 105 min., original with English subtitles

“And now, we are reinventing the wheel.” Despite the successful takeover, the heyday of the collectively-run factory in the north of Croatia is already almost a distant memory. The film follows workers at a breaking point, torn between loyalty, nostalgia and disenchantment under the capitalist system. Respectful, intense and intimate.

Czech Republic 2021, Adéla Komrzý, 72 min., original with English subtitles

“Our work is not about death but about life, which has a special quality for everyone,” explains the spirited Dr. Ondřej Kopecký. As the founder of Prague’s first palliative care clinic he is confronted with death every day. The director of this highly emotional discourse film, which poses sincere questions, follows him for three years.

Germany 2021, Alexander Riedel, 113 min., original with English subtitles

What do you do the whole blessed day when you’ve got nothing lined up? Are meal times and doctor’s appointments all that remain? Under these circumstances, how do you manage to not get stuck in front of the television? In his film, Alexander Riedel reflects on retirement, the transition into this particular new phase of life and the significance and insignificance of work.

Germany 2022, Joscha Bongard, 74 min., original with English subtitles

Nico once approached Jamie in H&M. Today the couple live in an unadorned house in the tax haven of Cyprus. They have sex every day. They call themselves "Jamie Young/Youngcouple9598", make online porn and have made a fortune with it. The film delves into the minds of the two protagonists and shows us their lives – but what is it like behind the façade?

Finland 2022, John Webster, 81 min., original with English subtitles

“Don’t cry – work!” proclaimed Rainald Goetz in the neoliberal vernacular of the 1980s. But where has this permanent self-optimization taken us in an age of markets and career-obsessed CEOs? John Webster’s influential, darkly humorous analysis mercilessly uncovers the drawbacks of our turbo-capitalist world of work.

Portugal 2021, Pedro Figueiredo Neto, Ricardo Falcão, 84 min., original with English subtitles

“Make your demands!” Indefatigably, Mbaye transports goods in his rickety Peugeot from Portugal to Senegal and back, fulfilling wishes and giving advice along the way on how to treat damaged knees. His only companion on the exhausting 4000 km journey, and his direct link to his relatives, friends and acquaintances, is his smartphone.