However a VW is put together, what comes out is always the Federal Republic of Germany.
The VW factory is a museum of industrial technology, and at the same time it is its Utopia. The old factory buildings convey the impression of almost like being in a cathedral. In order to communicate with the crane operators high above, the workers beat on the steel griders with heavy hammers. The new buildings, however, are much lower – like in a complex of new apartments, in which you can touch the ceilings with your hands. While going around inside the buildings, you can follow the creation of an automobile and at the same time bid farewell to the industrial age.
1. What is a complex? A hyperactive reaction to a defect, which continues to grow rampantly until finally the defect becomes comprehensible.
2. Carstuffing: Some people had fun with the capacity of the automobile by attempting to set records in putting as many people into a car as possible, with the result that more people fit into the car than there is space for them inside.
3. Automobile paint shop: The paint contains dangerous substances, and the workers have to wear protective masks. However, most of the time they don’t. The masks get in the way and are unconfortable. It is also degrading to wear a mask while working; and it is terrible to have to protect yourself from the work that you do.
4. Planning engineer: “The assembly department will not turn into a ghost factory.” Assembly worker: “If you were to develop a car that a robot has better access to, then a lot of the work done now would no longer be necessary and there would only be some residual tasks left over.”
5. Transfer line: They are located in the dark; robots work blind. They work in isolation on divided-off floor sections of the factory, behind fences and chain-linked enclosures, securely protected by means of sliding bolts and photoelectric beams. These can no longer be called jobs. Work is in the process of dissapearing. What is thus being lost here cannot even be imagined.
6. Scrap metal: Cars wear out. What the rust didn’t eat up is crushed by the shredder. Future archeologists will hardly have anything to dig up when they endeavour to investigate what concerned us most in our age.
1989 35mm, colour, wide screen 1:1.66, 91 min.
Written, Edited, Narrated and Directed by: Hartmut Bitomsky
Camera by: Axel Block
Big Sky Film Berlin, Cofilm Berlin, FAS Film Hamburg, LA Sept Paris, West German Broadcasting (WDR) Cologne
(Der VW Komplex) Direction: Hartmut Bitomsky, NĚM, 1988, German version, English subtitles, 90 min
The film is a documentary about the Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg. The beginning is of course the present time: after a view of a giant industrial complex, the camera comes to rest on a pile of scrapped cars. Then clips from the news of 1935, with Hitler at the automobile exhibition. A few years later Dr. Porsche built the first “Beetle” model. Bitomsky follows in his film modern factory production of the VW with his camera and microphone.
But, however, it is not an industrial film – it goes well beyond the mere facts. Bitomsky also takes up the role played by the VW factory for the National Socialists armament production, and refers also to the prisoners who had to keep up production during the war years through forced labour. And so in the end the Volkswagen factory appears as an exemplary case of German industrial and cultural history, and the car itself, from the first Beetle to the newest models, both technical product and myth, becomes a revealing example of the history of German values.
1.17GB | 1h 29m | 640×480 | avi
Language(s):English Voice Over
Subtitles:English Hard where required