An Austrian documentary filmmaker who was trained at the San Francisco Art Institute as well as at the Vienna Film Academy, Michael Glawogger is fascinated with labor, particularly with the men and women who do the world’s most dangerous and dirty jobs. His Globalization Trilogy (Megacities, Workingman’s Death, and Whore’s Glory) offers candid, often breathtaking panoramas of laboring in both urban and rural areas—coal mining in the Ukraine, sulfur mining in Indonesia, butchering in Nigeria, ship-breaking in Pakistan, prostitution in Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Mexico. The films recall Pieter Bruegel’s The Triumph of Death and Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights; they are vivid, often terrifying, but exhilarating and beautiful as well. Glawogger is that rare filmmaker whose commercial melodramas are “vacations” from his years-long processes of recording the labors of workers around the world.
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