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AFTER WORK

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This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian) Deutsch (German)

by Jan Soldat

grade: 7.5

Ordinary can sometimes become extraordinary. Jan Soldat knows this well. The shots are constantly static and essential. Warm colours make us feel immediately at ease. After Work is a sharp and realistic picture of an ordinary day. At the Viennale 2023.

Unforeseen events

Many will remember friendly Holger, the protagonist of the documentary Blind Date, directed by Jan Soldat in 2022. Fine. Those who have grown fond of him will be pleased to know that the director has meanwhile made another documentary in which we can witness a new adventure of our Holger. We are talking about After Work, which had its Austrian premiere at the Viennale 2023.

In the late afternoon of an ordinary day, the man is in his flat. He is wearing only a dressing gown and is waiting for someone. Then, suddenly, Lutz arrives. After an initial approach and after trying out different positions, Holger must unfortunately admit that this is not his best day. Their meeting thus ends prematurely. Yet, saying goodbye, the two kiss.

Meanwhile, Jan Soldat’s camera filmed everything, without the director ever making his presence felt before it. Accustomed to documenting the sex lives of middle-aged homosexual men, Soldat often gave us moments of pure poetry in the observation of normal everyday life. This was the case in the aforementioned Blind Date (just to give one example), as it is in the case of this After Work, in which nothing else is needed for the story of the two protagonists to reach the viewer with all its emotional and communicative power.

This is not the best day for Holger. Yet, the protagonist never ceases to be pleasantly ironic and self-ironic, making even his guest feel at ease. As usual in his works, therefore, Jan Soldat observes his story without ever judging, but, on the contrary, proving to be particularly sincere and affectionate towards his protagonists. Holger is a lonely man, but in this loneliness he has nevertheless managed to find his own balance and some pleasant company from time to time.

Ordinary can sometimes become extraordinary. Jan Soldat knows this well. And to prove this he only needs a camera, a lot of attention and, of course, a lot of talent. The shots are constantly static and essential. Warm colours make us feel immediately at ease. The directorial approach adopted is simple and linear, but still manages to show us all the beauty in the protagonist’s everyday life. In just five minutes, therefore, the magic happens on the movie screen. After Work is a sharp and realistic picture of an ordinary day. The day has come to an end in an almost unusual way. And who knows if next time our Holger will be more ‘lucky’.

Original title: After Work
Directed by: Jan Soldat
Country/year: Austria, Germany / 2023
Running time: 5’
Genre: documentary
Screenplay: Jan Soldat
Cinematography: Jan Soldat
Produced by: Jan Soldat

Info: the page of After Work on the website of the Viennale; the page of After Work on the website of Jan Soldat