This programme brings together two films that represent the daily work and working conditions of two service-based industries, while simultaneously drawing out the formal qualities of the materials and machinery in each environment. Quality Control takes a slower and more fragmentary approach to capturing a Taylorised production flow in a factory-like setting, while R-15 operates at a smaller scale, concisely representing a single worker completing a quick job. The choreography of garment movement in the former and the near-epic spattering of a snow-like material in the latter inscribe these quotidian tasks with a sense of cinematic intrigue.
Quality Control is an exquisite and remarkable film, both meditative and profoundly moving, that joins a rigorous formalism to a rare engagement with the realities of contemporary manual work.
Irina Leimbacher, Film Comment
Quality Control, United States 2011, 16mm transferred to digital, black and white, sound, 71 min
Quality Control represents the careful labour of workers on the production line of a large-scale dry cleaning operation in Pritchard, Alabama. Unfolding in seven long takes, the rhythms of the work environment set the pace of the film. Workers’ repetitive motions are registered in different stages of the cleaning, pressing and alterations process, and so too are the sounds of the machines and casual conversations in the break room.
R-15, United States 2017, HD, black and white, sound, 5 min
An insulator doles out R-15, a material that keeps homes warm in the winter months and cool in the summer.