Skip to main content


Austria / Switzerland, 1998 (MIFF 1999, Documentaries)

Director: Michael Glawogger

Bombay. Mexico City, Moscow, New York. These four 'megacities' have populations of between eight and 24 million people, numbers unprecedented in human history. Austrian documentary maker Michael Glawogger probes both the micro and macrocosm of human experience, his focus is those at the very lowest rungs of the socio-economic ladder, trying to survive in massive urban centres. His cutting commentary on the socially marginalised and poverty stricken is made by examining a dozen lives, three in each city.

A chicken feet vendor, a paint recycler, a trash scavenger, street kids, a performer, a pimp and a crane driver. This film essay offers impressions of the variety and complexity of their everyday lives: crime, homelessness, prostitution and drug addiction. Despite its sweeping global scope (and often spectacular Koyaanisqatsi-like images) the film retains an intimacy with each of its subjects. Rather than simply offer a litany of human misery, Glawogger offers respite by highlighting the pleasures, however small, that each of his subiects draw from their lives.

See also...


Veteran documentary filmmaker Michael Glawogger's fiction feature Slumming, which premiered in competition at the Berlin, is a finely crafted, provocative work. Viennese rich kid Sebastian (August ... More »


A post-modern faux-thriller about obsession, guilt and wanting to ‘off' your dad. ... Irascible and lazy, Rupert ‘Ratz' Kramer is a 35-year-old slacker who plays out his patricidal fantasies ... More »


“Everyone believes they know something about prostitution, particularly when he or she has never been to a brothel.” - Michael Glawogger ... Director Michael Glawogger takes us on a global tour ... More »


Won the Grierson Award at the London Film Festival. ... What would you be prepared to do to earn a living? Michael Glawogger's eye-opening documentary focuses on the extremes to which people will go ... More »


Chuck Workman's exemplary enquiry into the Beats takes a longer view than the typical canonisation of goatees, jazz and reefer that bogs down too many similar projects. The director places his work ... More »


Anyone who cares about cinema will relish Berlin-Cinema (Titre Provisoire). Ambitious and illuminating, this documentary focuses on two of cinema's great masters—Wim Wenders and Jean-Luc ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director