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  • The unsung sing


    Jörg Markowitsch

    In the second part of his trilogy about people in unsung professions, "Secondo Me" (2016), Pavel Cuzuioc accompanies three cloakroom attendants at three European opera houses and welcomes the everyday to stage.

    When I was visiting the Uni­ver­si­ty of Tallinn some time ago, it must have been shortly after Estonia’s accession to the EU, I was fasci­na­ted by the fact that there was a cloakroom there, like in a theatre, where — mostly women of a certain age — took the jackets and coats of young students. On the one hand there was this feeling of opulence in a sup­po­sed­ly less than well-off country, on the other hand there was this immedia­te­ly tangible ine­qua­li­ty. The social par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on and simple presence of the older genera­ti­on in the direct support of the younger ones seemed like something anachronistic.

    The con­ver­sa­ti­ons between the cloakroom attendant and retiree Nadezhda Sokhts­ka­ya, with her colleague at their workplace in the Odessa Opera House, docu­men­ted in the film “Secondo Me” (2016) by Pavel Cuzuioc, made exactly this impres­si­on on me. The other two prot­ago­nists of the film, Flavio Fornasa in the cloakroom of the Teatro La Scala in Milan and Ronald Zwanziger in the Vienna State Opera, are their coun­ter­parts, and yet markedly different.

    Flavio is in his mid-fifties, studied at the Technical Uni­ver­si­ty of Milan and is a full-time safety inspector for the Italian National Railway Company. The search for an addi­tio­nal part-time job led him to La Scala, where he first became a safety officer, then a ticket inspector and finally, since 2003, a cloakroom attendant.

    Ronald, just over seventy, has a doctorate in Indo-Germanic Studies and was a full-time librarian at the library of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Vienna. For three decades, however, he has also been working as a cloakroom attendant at the Vienna State Opera in the evening.

    The film vividly depicts the everyday life of the three cloakroom atten­dants, their work, leisure and family time. It shows them in the gym, in the nail studio, visiting a dolphin show with the grand­child­ren, playing chess with the children, cooking, eating and swimming. What is performed on stage at the respec­ti­ve opera houses remains behind closed doors and only occa­sio­nal­ly reminds us that it’s there when the uphols­te­red doors are opened. The stage that the film offers actually belongs exclu­si­ve­ly to the three cloakroom atten­dants. Their small curtained kiosks look like miniature versions of the main stages of these famous houses — the cloakroom as an allegory of the world stage.

    Flavio, who is about to say goodbye to his work forever, sums it up as if he were the chief executive of the opera house and not a simple back­ground employee: “All in all, when I think of my time at La Scala, I wouldn’t do anything different […] basically I liked it here, I was happy.”

    Pro­fes­si­ons where we find it difficult to see them as a valid vocation, and people who seem invisible to us and to whom we generally pay no attention, are in the focus of Moldavian-born and Vienna-based filmmaker Pavel Cuzuioc. His tributes to pro­fes­sio­nal and everyday life bring social ine­qua­li­ties into per­spec­ti­ve and show that the great can also be found in the sup­po­sed­ly insi­gni­fi­cant, the simple, and that the former can’t work without the latter.

    Refe­ren­ces:
    Cuzuioc, Pavel (O.D), SECONDO ME, Pres­se­heft  (retrieved 5.10.2020)
    pavelcuzuioc.com

     

    SECONDO ME, Pavel Cuzuioc, 2016, Austria, Trailer 

    Nadezhda Sokhatskaya, Odessa Opera House, Filmstill

    Flavio Fornasa – La Scala, Milan. Filmstill

    Tags

    The unsung sing

    Jörg Markowitsch

    In the second part of his trilogy about people in unsung professions, "Secondo Me" (2016), Pavel Cuzuioc accompanies three cloakroom attendants at three European opera houses and welcomes the everyday to stage.

    When I was visiting the Uni­ver­si­ty of Tallinn some time ago, it must have been shortly after Estonia’s accession to the EU, I was fasci­na­ted by the fact that there was a cloakroom there, like in a theatre, where — mostly women of a certain age — took the jackets and coats of young students. On the one hand there was this feeling of opulence in a sup­po­sed­ly less than well-off country, on the other hand there was this immedia­te­ly tangible ine­qua­li­ty. The social par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on and simple presence of the older genera­ti­on in the direct support of the younger ones seemed like something anachronistic.

    The con­ver­sa­ti­ons between the cloakroom attendant and retiree Nadezhda Sokhts­ka­ya, with her colleague at their workplace in the Odessa Opera House, docu­men­ted in the film “Secondo Me” (2016) by Pavel Cuzuioc, made exactly this impres­si­on on me. The other two prot­ago­nists of the film, Flavio Fornasa in the cloakroom of the Teatro La Scala in Milan and Ronald Zwanziger in the Vienna State Opera, are their coun­ter­parts, and yet markedly different.

    Flavio is in his mid-fifties, studied at the Technical Uni­ver­si­ty of Milan and is a full-time safety inspector for the Italian National Railway Company. The search for an addi­tio­nal part-time job led him to La Scala, where he first became a safety officer, then a ticket inspector and finally, since 2003, a cloakroom attendant.

    Ronald, just over seventy, has a doctorate in Indo-Germanic Studies and was a full-time librarian at the library of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Vienna. For three decades, however, he has also been working as a cloakroom attendant at the Vienna State Opera in the evening.

    The film vividly depicts the everyday life of the three cloakroom atten­dants, their work, leisure and family time. It shows them in the gym, in the nail studio, visiting a dolphin show with the grand­child­ren, playing chess with the children, cooking, eating and swimming. What is performed on stage at the respec­ti­ve opera houses remains behind closed doors and only occa­sio­nal­ly reminds us that it’s there when the uphols­te­red doors are opened. The stage that the film offers actually belongs exclu­si­ve­ly to the three cloakroom atten­dants. Their small curtained kiosks look like miniature versions of the main stages of these famous houses — the cloakroom as an allegory of the world stage.

    Flavio, who is about to say goodbye to his work forever, sums it up as if he were the chief executive of the opera house and not a simple back­ground employee: “All in all, when I think of my time at La Scala, I wouldn’t do anything different […] basically I liked it here, I was happy.”

    Pro­fes­si­ons where we find it difficult to see them as a valid vocation, and people who seem invisible to us and to whom we generally pay no attention, are in the focus of Moldavian-born and Vienna-based filmmaker Pavel Cuzuioc. His tributes to pro­fes­sio­nal and everyday life bring social ine­qua­li­ties into per­spec­ti­ve and show that the great can also be found in the sup­po­sed­ly insi­gni­fi­cant, the simple, and that the former can’t work without the latter.

    Refe­ren­ces:
    Cuzuioc, Pavel (O.D), SECONDO ME, Pres­se­heft  (retrieved 5.10.2020)
    pavelcuzuioc.com

     

    SECONDO ME, Pavel Cuzuioc, 2016, Austria, Trailer

    Nadezhda Sokhatskaya, Odessa Opera House, Filmstill

    Flavio Fornasa – La Scala, Milan. Filmstill

    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.