101 minutes

The group of Russian investors that bought Wismar's Aker shipyards and renamed them Wadan probably didn't read all the way through the Norse mythology they plucked the name from: the myth of Wadan involves the world's fall from grace and balance into chaos, and shortly after this Russian takeover the worldwide economic collapse forced the yards into insolvency, restructuring, forced layoffs and pay cuts for the workers lucky enough to recover their jobs. German documentarian Dieter Schumann, a Wismar native himself, started shooting his documentary on modern-day blue-collar work before the event's dramatic unfolding. His presence throughout allows him to paint an accurate and often moving portrait of the effects of globalisation on the actual lives of regular workers, while asking the question posited on the film's subtitle ("on the dignity of work").

     However, engaging as it is, Wadans Welt ties its loose ends far too neatly and imposes too much order on the chaos of the proceedings, seemingly in search of some sort of narrative closure that works against the film's testimonial structure. Also, the director's insistence to lay on a cloying music score at inappropriate moments is a cheap manoeuvre of emotional manipulation that is utterly unnecessary, since his access to the workers and their heartfelt statements says all that needs to be said. By signposting the emotions he wants his viewer to feel, Mr. Schumann undermines and devalues what would otherwise be a solid, affecting piece on the current state of the world.

Directed by Dieter Schumann; produced by Christian Beetz; written by Mr. Schumann, Jochen Wisotzki; music by Nils Kacirek; director of photography (colour), Rainer M. Schulz; film editor, Gudrun Steinbrück.
     A Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion production, in co-production with Basthorster Filmmanufaktur; with funding from the German Federal Government for Culture and Media, Mecklenburg Vorpommern Economic Film Fund, German Film Fund and Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein Film Fund. (World sales, Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion.)
     Screened: DocLisboa 2011 advance DVD screener, Lisbon, October 15th 2011. 


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