Im Rausch der Arbeit & Abschied von der sicheren Seite des Lebens

Im Rausch der Arbeit & Abschied von der sicheren Seite des Lebens

Edition Filmmuseum 29

High on Work: We have left a heroic and post-heroic industrial age behind us. Farewell to an era when work was still abundant. Yet the adage still holds: Only work makes life real (Marx). The turbulent zones of globalization, in the cafeteria of Brecht's Theater, Helge Schneider as an unemployed woman in Spain, "working to pieces" in the concentration camps. Farewell to the safe side of life: Experiences with core activities of our time, for example skyscrapers or Chernobyl. Experts from the fire department and paramedics, engineers, and scientists tell their stories. With Durs Grünbein, Peter Berling, Igor Kostin, Victor Popov, Nikolai Tarakanov, Igor Jassenjawski, Rosemarie Tietze, and Oxana Pentak.

The films

High on Work - First aired on April 6, 1997, dctp on RTL - A classical steel and rolling mill looks like an alchemical workshop. The project of industrialization went far beyond its original goals with regard to what could actually be marketed. Mighty architectural monuments of steel, among them the Eiffel Tower, are reminders of a time when there was an abundance of work. With Spanish hardcore Techno music from Esplendor Geometrico.

Clinton's Chief Economist - With Joseph E. Stiglitz - First aired on January 15, 2007, dctp on RTL - In his two books on globalization, Professor Stiglitz, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Economics, describes the non-synchronism and asymmetry of the rapidly developing global market. Stiglitz claims that a crash like the one on Black Friday 1929 is still possible today: It would have a different appearance, but it wouldn't be any less appalling and far reaching. "Storm zones of globalization".

Post-Heroic Management - With Dirk Baecker - First aired on June 7, 1999, dctp on RTL - The playwright Heiner Müller had a favorite book in his final year of life: "Post-Heroic Management" by Dirk Baecker. What does "post-heroic" mean? What does management mean at the end of the 20th century?

"50 Knuckles of Pork is About Right" - With Hary Balzke - First aired on March 25, 2007, dctp on RTL - The "Berliner Ensemble" is a theater company closely connected to names like Bert Brecht, Heiner Müller and Claus Peymann. Hary Balzke is the theater company's cook. He prefers to cook and eat German cuisine. A meeting and an interview with Hary Balzke about his art of cooking.

The Bridge Crosser - With Helge Schneider - First aired on September 10, 2007, dctp on RTL - Fred Peickert lost his job in one of the new eastern German states. Ever since, he's been in a holding pattern, waiting for vocational rehabilitation. "I used to dream about my freedom and my retirement," he says. "Now I dream about work." There should be occupations which help to integrate more people into working life. Could "bridge crosser" be such a job for Fred Peickert?

Happy Easter - First aired on April 6, 1998, dctp on RTL - The holy days, from Good Friday to Easter Monday, aren't long enough to begin a new life. But they're too long to endure without a new life. That is exactly what four labourers experience together with their lorry when they embark on a trip to Italy at 5 a.m. on Good Friday to painstakingly return by Easter Monday. They are involved in a huge motorway pile-up. "When the machines stop, accidents increase."

Camp Money - First aired on November 5, 1995, dctp on RTL - Camp administrators at the concentration camps of the Third Reich circulated coupons and "bank" notes. A group of officers within the SS believed they could create a greater work incentive by introducing camp money. Under the motto "scrapping through labor" camp prisoners were pressured to work more. Today, some of these notes are very rare collector's items of great value.

The Belshazzar Project - First aired on January 18, 1999, dctp on RTL - Händel's opera about the "writing on the wall" in Babylon: Belshazzar, the young, haughty King of Babylon, uses the temple goblets of the Jews, who had been abducted and taken to the banks of the Euphrates, as drinking vessels at a wild feast. Suddenly writing appears on the wall of the banquet hall: "You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting."

Every Man for Himself - With Peter Berling - First aired on July 13, 2003, dctp on RTL - Terrorism and skyscrapers confront expert fire fighters with severe problems. Is it possible to plan for future catastrophes when new buildings are constructed? In a case of emergency, what type of skyscraper allows for rescuing people trapped inside?

A Farewell to the Secure Side of Life - With Igor Kostin, Victor Popov, Nikolai Tarakanov, Igor Jassenjavski, Rosemarie Tietze - First aired on April 21, 2002, dctp on SAT 1 - The radiation, which upper level winds and rain from Chernobyl's explosion centre spread over Europe's furrows, consisted of various radioactive elements. Some of them have a half-life of 300,000 years. Is it possible to even imagine such a span of time?

"The Wind Will Clean It Off" - With Oxana Pentak, Rosemarie Tietze - First aired on April 21, 1996, dctp on RTL - At the time of the catastrophe, Oxana Pentak, an engineer in charge of adjusting automatic systems, was living on Lenin Street in Pripjet - closer to the reactor block than to the city of Chernobyl. She relates how she was gradually able to put together a picture of the fatal disaster from the scattered bits of information she gathered.

Soviet Patriots of 1941 - First aired on November 24, 1991, dctp on RTL - When German soldiers threatened march into Kiev in the summer of 1941, the local motorized fire brigade was brought to safety. But when the expert fire fighters saw their hometown in flames from across the river, they drove their fire engines back through the German lines.

Attention: Total Loss! - First aired on January 7, 2001, dctp on RTL - The death of the crew of Russia's modern nuclear submarine Kursk reminds the public of previous fatal disasters. There have been collisions between Russian nuclear submarines and US warships and hunter-killers. Includes a collection of popular Russian funeral tunes.

"The Burning Giraffe" - With Durs Grünbein - First aired on April 15, 2007, dctp on SAT 1 - Durs Grünbein's "Moscow Menagerie" is about a rare Saiga antelope, a female cheetah, a Mafioso named "Ironhand", the on-duty cobras ("concierges") and a "burning giraffe" (the huge TV tower in Moscow whose "neck" burned down).

Only Cans Were Saved - First aired on December 21, 2003, dctp on RTL - Fire brigades and rescue teams are the heroes of a disaster. They often save people's lives while risking their own. So it must have been terribly disappointing when the rescue teams extinguished a burning opera house only to discover that it was merely a storage space for tins.

Sense below the Sense - First published - Not unlike reindeer there was something in these people - yet not what they wanted or intended - that was more intelligent than them. There is no other way to explain their survival.

Germany 1991-2008 - Directed and written by: Alexander Kluge - Cinematography by: Michael Christ, Heribert Kansy, Walter Lennertz, Werner Lüring, Claudia Marcell, Thomas Willke - Edited by: Kajetan Forstner, Andreas Kern - Contributors: Roland Forstner, Michel Gaißmayer, Erich Harandt, Michael Kurz, Claudia Toursarkissian, Alexander Weil, Toni Werner, Beata Wiggen, Arno Wilms - Produced by: Kairos-Film, München

DVD features (2-disc DVD)


  • Im Rausch der Arbeit 1997, 15'
  • Clintons Chefökonom 2007, 24'
  • Postheroisches Management 1999, 24'
  • "Ab 50 Eisbein wird es schön!" 2007, 15'
  • Der Brückengeher 2007!", 24'
  • Frohe Ostern 1998, 24'
  • Lagergeld 1995, 10'
  • 16page booklet with texts by Alexander Kluge


  • Projekt Belsazar 1999, 5'
  • Rette sich, wer kann 2003, 15'
  • Abschied von der sicheren Seite des Lebens 2002, 25'
  • "Der Wind, der reinigt das - -" 1993, 15'
  • Sowjetische Patrioten von 1941 1991, 15'
  • Achtung Totalverlust! 2001, 15'
  • "Die brennende Giraffe" 2007, 4'
  • Nur Dosen wurden gerettet 2003, 15'
  • Verstand, unterhalb des Verstandes 2008, 4'
  • Short stories by Alexander Kluge as ROM features

DVD edited by: Filmmuseum München and Goethe-Institut, funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation
DVD authoring: Ralph Schermbach
DVD supervision: Stefan Droessler

First edition October 2008

TV Format Original format Audio format Language Subtitles Region code
4:3 (PAL)
Dolby Digital 2.0
All Regions


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