Two cultures collide in this unusual tale of globalization, which documents the dismantling of a massive smelting complex in Germany for shipment to and reassembly in China. A state-of-the-art facility built at a cost of more than 650 million Euros in 1992, the Kaiserstuhl coke factory in the Ruhr Valley was closed only eight years later when the cost of importing coke became cheaper than manufacturing it.
A Chinese investor, recognizing the growing demand for steel in China's booming economy, agreed to purchase the plant. Overseen by 30 German "shutdown managers," a community of 400 Chinese workers is soon working sixty-hour weeks, under often dangerous conditions and pressures and perks from their Chinese managers, to complete the disassembly as quickly as possible.
LOSERS AND WINNERS, filmed over an eighteen-month period, chronicles the entire amazing process, featuring interviews with the Germans, who must watch as their former workplace is broken down into moveable sections, and the Chinese managers and low-paid workers, isolated from their homes and families, most of whom will receive their salary only upon completion of the project.
Tensions quickly become evident between the Germans and Chinese over workplace issues, especially the Germans' concerns about safety measures and environmental issues, and the Chinese indignation over their hosts' cultural condescension and criticism of the lazy work habits of the "old foreigners."
In addition to the disparity between feelings of national pride, LOSERS AND WINNERS reveals the ironies and ambiguities inherent in such global economic changes, the respective sensations of loss and accomplishment, and of differing personal prospects for the future.
"New ways to view globalization." —Xiaodan Zhang, Iternational Labor and Working-Class History
Best International Feature, 2007 Hot Docs International Documentary Festival
Film Critics Award, 2007 Chicago International Documentary Festival
Special Jury Award, 2007 It's All True Brazil
Best Film Award, 2007 One World Prague
Golden REMI Award, 2007 WorldFest Houston
2007 Silverdocs Documentary Festival
2006 Opening Night, DOK Leipzig
"A historical document of globalization practices, processes and effects, which is highly recommended in classes regarding East-West encounters, cross-cultural understanding, Chinese management and culture, or more generally in any class on contemporary China." —Dr. Maurizio Marinelli, H-Asia
"Fascinating... has much to offer students of China, Germany, globalization, and labor." —Jennifer Rudolph, Education About Asia, Asian Educational Media Service
"Excellent... both a film of subtle ironies and one of enormous cultural contrasts... highly recommended." —Cliff Glaviano, Educational Media Reviews Online
"An excellent means for examining the complexities of globalization." —Daniel Friel, H-German listserv