LOSERS AND WINNERS (Ulrike Franke, Michael Loeken, Germany). 96 minutes. Subtitled. Wednesday (April 25), 9 pm, Bloor; April 27, 11 am, Isabel Bader. Rating: NN Rating: NN
What could have been a very cool comparison of two different kinds of industrial efficiencies fails to take off. The missing piece? Real conflict.
German managers of a coking operation supervise a team of Chinese workers sent to Keiserstuhl to dismantle the plant and ship it piece by piece back to China.
At first, Losers And Winners fascinates. The Germans give off whiffs of racism, expressing distress at the arrival of the "army of ants" and the loss of their livelihood. The Chinese talk about commitment to their country and can't figure out why their hosts work only eight hours a day.
But except for a few scraps over the Chinese workers' refusal to comply with safety standards and a montage tracking the plant's demise - from totally intact to complete rubble - nothing really grabs the viewer.
I'm guessing the filmmakers wish something more dramatic had happened along the way.