THE FUTURE WILL NOT BE CAPITALIST

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by Sasha Pirker

grade: 7

Everything is grey in The Future will not be capitalist. Concrete – often left exposed – reigns everywhere. And the human being, for his part, how does he react? Lost in their frenetic activities, employees do not even seem to have time to exchange a few words from time to time.

A concrete pour in the heart of Paris

What will become of the society in which we live? And, above all, what will be the conditions for workers? If in 2014, director Elisabeth Scharang, in her Kick out your Boss, predicted a future in which people would be able to work in much more humane, even pleasant and relaxing conditions, back in 2010, director Sasha Pirker had already envisaged an entirely different situation. And so, this The Future will not be capitalist, already premiered at the 67th Venice Film FestivalOrizzonti section – and included, following the cancellation of the Diagonale 2020, in the programme Diagonale 2020 – The Unfinished, section Flimmit Onlinefestival, shows us a totally different situation.

We are in Paris. Here, at the end of the 1960s, the famous architect Oscar Niemeyer designed the headquarters of the Communist Party, which at the time, and for many years to come, used to win much support from the people. Yet, this party, at first inspired by the doctrines of Karl Marx, gradually took on the characteristics of Stalinism. The very appearance of the building shown here bears witness, then, to this alienating and singular reality.

The Future will not be capitalist takes its title, therefore, directly from an interview, dating back to 2008, with Gérard Fournier, head of the party administration. What the man said during the interview – recorded here in voice over in an almost mechanical and unemphatic manner – stands in stark contrast to the images we see on the screen.

The building designed by Niemeyer, then, certainly seems to us with graceful and in their own way harmonious forms, but also – and above all – strongly cramped, grey, dark. And it contrasts strongly with the harmony of the city of Paris. The voice over suggests the idea of a place constantly lit by the day light. Yet the windows are far too small and barely a faint light filters through them. Similarly, thousands of artificial lights – which, seen as a whole, are almost reminiscent of a beehive – illuminate a large conference room with a cold light, almost reminiscent of a hospital and which, even just observed on screen, immediately make one feel uncomfortable.

Everything is grey in The Future will not be capitalist. Concrete – often left exposed – reigns everywhere. And the human being, for his part, how does he react? Lost in their frenetic activities, employees do not even seem to have time to exchange a few words from time to time. Buildings and urbanisation, then, take over from human beings themselves. And they inevitably swallow them up in their stomachs made of glass and lime.

There is (apparently) no hope for a better future in this short film by Sasha Pirker. And all this is further emphasised by a deliberately minimalist direction, which by often concentrating on details – showing them to us, at times, as an abstract composition – is meant to convey even more a certain sense of alienation that one feels the moment one crosses the threshold of this Niemeyer building. And yet, at the same time, reality is also observed with a certain detachment. It may be that the party is only getting 5% of the national consensus these days. It may be that people are slowly realising that it is finally time to focus on the human being, on his wellbeing and his needs. And if we want to be optimistic, we still think back to Kick out your Boss by Elisabeth Scharang. A real breath of fresh air, as well as a much-needed open window on a world that, hopefully, one day we will not just dream about.

Original title: The Future will not be capitalist
Directed by: Sasha Pirker
Country/year: Austria / 2010
Running time: 20’
Genre: documentary
Screenplay: Sasha Pirker
Cinematography: Johannes Hammel, Sasha Pirker
Produced by: Sasha Pirker

Info: the page of The Future will not be capitalist on the website of the Diagonale; the page of The Future will not be capitalist on iMDb