In a 13-minute navigation, Nestler takes us downstream the Rhine River. The opportunity of cheap water transport kept prices of raw material down and made the Rhine one of the most important arteries of industrial transport in the world.
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The film starts with the saying "Freigeboren ist der Strom und wild wachsen die Reben" (The current is born free & vines grow wild) & weaves webs of irony & heartweariness over it. Nestler frames his documentary about hard low-wage labor within a larger (fated?) structure, as if the Rhine & not Original Sin called this endless daily grind of human laboring into being, and wine but the hard-won water of Lethe
These things you take for granted, that seem inevitable as rivers, have behind them a force just as strong and majestic: The honest hard work of the proletariat, you soft, pasty, entitled bougie twits! - is pretty much this movie, but deadpan and German. Not subtle... but effective! 3.5
To be honest, I think this is one of those films that stars or rating do not apply (but again, stars and ratings should not apply to any film). Nestler takes us on a historic trip to daily life from back then (when? it does not matter). Beautiful, this is a documentary to eat with eyes wide opened.
There is something nonchalant about some of Nestler's films, I can't help but like them. What is there not to like? Proletarian eye candy, and the punch comes from a strange intended inconsistency or subtle abrasiveness, almost like he's playing a joke... snappy happy, oh wait, not so much. However you slice it, formalist master.
Interesting documentary to watch nowadays when fewer people are able to make an honorable living off physical labor. You can see the look of mastery in the eyes of the workers. We’ve become instead a society of onlookers, like the people who’ve come to watch the men and boats.
At 13 minutes long it was bearable. I like people watching, I like watching boats, I like watching old films of people doing their thing so this film was harmless. Unfortunately, I thought the accompanying sound effects/music, particularly the boat engine noise was unnecessary and distracting.
2-3. I'm kind of in the same mindset that this isn't as interesting as some of Nestler's other documentaries. It is technically interesting to see the goings-on of the Rhine River, see the workers in their environment, imagine what their loved ones must think about it, etc. But there isn't the same smoothness of editing that was found in, say, Essays, nor the same amount of natural revelations.