A DAY’S WORK
An observation of progress in a landscape heavily damaged by man.
A DAY’S WORK
13 min, 4K, experimental documentary short / 2-channel-installation
A DAY’S WORK offers a glimpse into the harsh realities of manual labor at a moment of relative peace and progress in a remote region of eastern Burma/Myanmar.
In a landscape already scarred by colonialism, logging, land seizure from indigenous peoples, civil war and neglect, the construction of a road looks like a further violation of nature. Yet until recently, the work done on this road—which cuts through areas that repeatedly suffered under the cruelty of the military—embodied progress. The mere possibility of a modern paved road connecting areas controlled by five warring parties (the Burmese army and rivalling ethnic rebel groups) marked a step towards peace and development.
World Premiere at 2021 Tampere International Film Festival – Finland
Clermont-Ferrand 2022 Labo Competition – France
FIPADOC 2022 Biarritz –official short doc competition – France
PÖFF Shorts /Tallinn Black Nights 2021 Live Action Competition – Estonia
Interfilm Berlin Short Film Festival 2022 – Documentary Competition – Germany
Vienna Shorts 2021 Austrian Competition – Austria
Honorable Mention Kurzfilmwoche Regensburg 2022 Architekturfenster “Architecture Competition”
21st Kortfilmfestival Leuven 2021 – Belgium
Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) 2021 – India
#kurzfilmderwoche der AG Kurzfilm, Februar 2022, #shortoftheweek of the German Short Film Association, February 2022
Opening Film 2021 Freiburger Filmforum, Festival of Transcultural Film – Germany
11th International Short Film Festival of Cyprus (ISFFC) 2021 – Cyprus
Burma Spring Benefit Film Festival (BSBFF) 2022
Ibizacinefest– Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente de Ibiza – Spain
Docudays UA IHRDFF 2022, Kiev – Ukraine
Music & Cinema Marseille 2022 – France
Filmfest Dresden 2022 – Germany
OFF Odense International Film Festival 2022 – Denmark
German Intl. Ethnographic Film Festival 2022, Göttingen
Artfilmfest 2022 – Slovakia
Pune International Short Film Festival – 2022 India
9th Goa Short Film Festival 2022 – India
Filmzeit Kaufbeuren, Autorenfilmfestival , Kaufbeuren, Deutschland, 2022
Certamen Soria Short Film Festival, Soria Spain, 2022
28th Film Festival della Lessinia, Bosco Chiesanuova, Italy, 2022
Festival Faites de l’Image – 21ème édition, Les Videophages, Toulouse 2022
online preview @ DOK Leipzig Film Market 2020
A DAY’S WORK is both a short documentary and a film installation. Without dialogue, contrasting perspectives are shown on split screens, sometimes alternating, sometimes simultaneous. Distant, slow and well-composed aerial shots show an otherwise unattainable perspective, quite literally giving the bigger picture; they are complemented by handheld close-ups that follow the laborers at work, detailing individual actions without much context.
From above, we observe the tar being applied to the road like strokes of black paint. From a distance we notice patterns emerging from the repetitive nature of the work. Slowly, we figure out that this is a road construction site and we observe who is doing what. The men work with the tar. With brute force, they lift large barrels, roll and haul them about; once they have poured the boiling liquid where it is needed, the empty barrels are discarded in the countryside. The men are outnumbered by the many women who continuously lug the enormous amounts of dirt and gravel needed.
The hats and clothes that protect the workers from the sun, dust and smoke, also protect them from our gaze, and with it from judgement. While the camera seeks intimacy, we never get close to the workers themselves. . Towards the end, the camera rises even higher, revealing what is merely a tiny stretch of the 200-kilometer future roadway on which these men and women toil—and the never-ending nature of a day’s work.
Since the coup in Feb. 2021, the entire country has been thrown back decades. The brutality inflicted is reminiscent of the horrors committed under military rule in the past—painful memories, all too familiar along the ancient narrow Loikaw-Taungoo road.
After five decades of civil war, dictatorship and isolation, a decade of opening-up, relative peace and democracy followed, bringing hope and a surge in activity throughout the country. A new road was to improve the lives of the people living in the remote hills of Kayah State, and provide long-overdue access to medical care and education as well as to the rest of the country and world. In the interim, the setbacks and obstacles have become larger than the roads that are not being built.
Pascal Khoo Twe
Director and editor: Max Kerkhoff
Cinematographer: Till Girke
Sound: Paul Glodek
Producer: Johannes Schmidt
Composer : Franziska May, Isacco Chiaf
Additional editing: Momas Schütze
Additional drone photography: Paul Glodek
Pascal Khoo Twe
Drone support: Lin Aung
Driver: ဘိုဘို Bo Bo
International Trade Centre
ျဖဴေဌးဝင္း Phyu Htay Win
ရွင္ေအးၿငိမ္း Shin Aye Nyein
နာင္လင္းေထြး Naung Lin Htway
တင္တင္ေဆြ Tin Tin Swe
သက္ခိုင္ Thet Khaing
မင့္ေဆြ Myint Swe
စုစုရ Su Su Ya
ဝဒီထက္ျမက္ေမာ္ Wadi Htet Myet Maw
ဆန္းမင္း San Min
မင္းသူ Min Thu
ဘိုမင္းသူ Bo Min Thu
ျမတ္မင္းသူ Myat Min Thu
ေမာင္ထြန္းမင္း Maung Tun Min