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  • Society without connection


    Jörg Markowitsch

    The new film "Please hold the line" (2020) by Pavel Cuzuioc loosely follows the work of service technicians in the telecommunications industry in the far east of Europe while actually portraying their customers more. Those who are in danger of losing their connection to society.

    In the third and last part of his docu­men­ta­ry trilogy on unsung pro­fes­si­ons, which he started about 10 years ago, Pavel Cuzuioc, the Vienna-based filmmaker born in Moldova, once again takes us to his roots. In his debut film, he portrayed Gra­ve­dig­gers, in his last film, cloakroom atten­dants (see also The Unsung sing), and his current film is about workers for telecom providers on the road in Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine.

    The film, shown at the Viennale 2020, the Vienna Film Festival, on the eve of the second lockdown, caused unease in my companion and restrai­ned amazement in me. My companion didn’t appre­cia­te having to literally smell the impo­ve­ris­hed living con­di­ti­ons of the rural far east of Europe that the field workers were visiting. I was indeed surprised that the tran­si­ti­on to mobile phones is only halfway there.

    The expe­ri­men­tal set-up is similar to his previous film “Secondo Me”. One pro­fes­si­on, one subject, several countries. 100 hours of material, evaluated and assembled into a socio­lo­gi­cal-eth­no­lo­gi­cal film essay of 86 min. And yet the most recent film is com­ple­te­ly different. Whereas “Secondo Me” focuses on the com­pa­ri­son of the lives and bio­gra­phies of three cloakroom assi­stants at three opera houses, “Please hold the line” documents the com­mon­place domestic locations more. New tech­no­lo­gies and incre­a­sing glo­ba­li­sa­ti­on are no different in Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine, and the telecom customers are also largely the same. They seem to be avoiding touch with the “networked” society or even deli­ber­ate­ly rejecting it. However, the landline and the tele­vi­si­on like in the old days, pre­fer­a­b­ly with the old pro­gram­mes, must work perfectly.

    Unlike within the previous parts of the trilogy, upon com­pa­ri­son in the current film it is clearly not so much the everyday work and life of the service tech­ni­ci­ans that interest Cuziuoc, but the stories and nar­ra­ti­ves of the customers. To this end, wonderful small portraits can be found. For example, a priest who phi­lo­so­phi­ses about com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on, a father who mourns his son’s death of drug abuse or a pensioner who con­vin­cin­gly presents Kro­pot­ki­ni­an anarchism as the solution to current social developments.

    But one wonders what does this do for the film and the idea of a trilogy about unsung pro­fes­si­ons? From an occup­a­tio­nal research point of view, it would certainly have been more inte­res­ting to see more of the service tech­ni­ci­ans’ work. It would have been even more exciting to compare the strictly female world of the technical office staff shown only at the beginning of the film and literally holding the line with the appar­ent­ly exclu­si­ve­ly male domain in the field.

    The film, which is scheduled for release in March 2021, is well worth seeing, just like the other two films in the trilogy.

    Refe­ren­ces:
    https://pavelcuzuioc.com/please-hold-the-line/

     

    PLEASE HOLD THE LINE, Trailer, 2020, Austria, 86 min 

    Working in a telephone exchange, 1960, Huntley Film Archive 

    "The World's Switchboard!", Telephone Exchange, London, 1930 

    Please hold the line, Still

    Please hold the line, Still

    Please hold the line, 2020, Still

    Please hold the line, 2020, Still

    Tags

    Society without connection

    Jörg Markowitsch

    The new film "Please hold the line" (2020) by Pavel Cuzuioc loosely follows the work of service technicians in the telecommunications industry in the far east of Europe while actually portraying their customers more. Those who are in danger of losing their connection to society.

    In the third and last part of his docu­men­ta­ry trilogy on unsung pro­fes­si­ons, which he started about 10 years ago, Pavel Cuzuioc, the Vienna-based filmmaker born in Moldova, once again takes us to his roots. In his debut film, he portrayed Gra­ve­dig­gers, in his last film, cloakroom atten­dants (see also The Unsung sing), and his current film is about workers for telecom providers on the road in Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine.

    The film, shown at the Viennale 2020, the Vienna Film Festival, on the eve of the second lockdown, caused unease in my companion and restrai­ned amazement in me. My companion didn’t appre­cia­te having to literally smell the impo­ve­ris­hed living con­di­ti­ons of the rural far east of Europe that the field workers were visiting. I was indeed surprised that the tran­si­ti­on to mobile phones is only halfway there.

    The expe­ri­men­tal set-up is similar to his previous film “Secondo Me”. One pro­fes­si­on, one subject, several countries. 100 hours of material, evaluated and assembled into a socio­lo­gi­cal-eth­no­lo­gi­cal film essay of 86 min. And yet the most recent film is com­ple­te­ly different. Whereas “Secondo Me” focuses on the com­pa­ri­son of the lives and bio­gra­phies of three cloakroom assi­stants at three opera houses, “Please hold the line” documents the com­mon­place domestic locations more. New tech­no­lo­gies and incre­a­sing glo­ba­li­sa­ti­on are no different in Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine, and the telecom customers are also largely the same. They seem to be avoiding touch with the “networked” society or even deli­ber­ate­ly rejecting it. However, the landline and the tele­vi­si­on like in the old days, pre­fer­a­b­ly with the old pro­gram­mes, must work perfectly.

    Unlike within the previous parts of the trilogy, upon com­pa­ri­son in the current film it is clearly not so much the everyday work and life of the service tech­ni­ci­ans that interest Cuziuoc, but the stories and nar­ra­ti­ves of the customers. To this end, wonderful small portraits can be found. For example, a priest who phi­lo­so­phi­ses about com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on, a father who mourns his son’s death of drug abuse or a pensioner who con­vin­cin­gly presents Kro­pot­ki­ni­an anarchism as the solution to current social developments.

    But one wonders what does this do for the film and the idea of a trilogy about unsung pro­fes­si­ons? From an occup­a­tio­nal research point of view, it would certainly have been more inte­res­ting to see more of the service tech­ni­ci­ans’ work. It would have been even more exciting to compare the strictly female world of the technical office staff shown only at the beginning of the film and literally holding the line with the appar­ent­ly exclu­si­ve­ly male domain in the field.

    The film, which is scheduled for release in March 2021, is well worth seeing, just like the other two films in the trilogy.

    Refe­ren­ces:
    https://pavelcuzuioc.com/please-hold-the-line/

     

    PLEASE HOLD THE LINE, Trailer, 2020, Austria, 86 min

    Working in a telephone exchange, 1960, Huntley Film Archive

    "The World's Switchboard!", Telephone Exchange, London, 1930

    Please hold the line, Still

    Please hold the line, Still

    Please hold the line, 2020, Still

    Please hold the line, 2020, Still

    Tags


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    About this blog

    By selecting a film or an image, this blog literally illus­tra­tes the vast sphere of work, employ­ment & education in an open collec­tion of academic, artistic and also anecdotal findings.

    About us

    Konrad Wakol­bin­ger makes docu­men­ta­ry films about work and life. Jörg Mar­ko­witsch does research on education and work. They are both based in Vienna. Infor­ma­ti­on on guest authors can be found in their cor­re­spon­ding articles.

    More about

    Inte­res­ted in more? Find recom­men­da­ti­ons on relevant festivals, film collec­tions and lite­ra­tu­re here.

    About this blog

    With picking a film or an image, this blog literally illus­tra­tes the vast sphere of work, employ­ment & education in an open collec­tion of academic, artistic and also anecdotal findings.

    About us

    Konrad Wakol­bin­ger makes docu­men­ta­ry films about work and life. Jörg Mar­ko­witsch does research on education and work. We both work in Vienna. Infor­ma­ti­on on guest authors can be found in their respec­ti­ve articles.

    More about

    Inte­res­ted in more? Find recom­men­da­ti­ons on relevant festivals, film collec­tions and lite­ra­tu­re here.