Seeing and understanding human rights at This Human World film festival

We are now eight billion people on earth. The film festival This Human World in Vienna shows how we treat each other: 90 international films will be screened from December 1st to 11th.

Von Maria Motter

This Human World film festival is all about human rights. The night of December 9th to 10th, 1945 was decisive. It was a short night for Eleanor Roosevelt: she played a leading role in bringing about the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. Representatives from 51 countries spent months, then specifically weeks, working on the fine-tuning. And then they agreed on the lyrics and there was a standing ovation for Eleanor Roosevelt. After the catastrophes of the two world wars, people wanted human rights as a new guideline.

It is precisely with this hope and the charter that the This Human World film festival begins. Feature, documentary and short films tell of human rights around the world. It’s about freedom and the preservation of the environment, in Finland as in Myanmar or also in Peru, Honduras and Brazil as well as – right in front of the front door – in the Lobau last year.

This Human World FilmfestivalDecember 1st to 11th, Vienna, in the Schikaneder, Topkino, Gartenbaukino, Stadtkino as well as in the Brunnenpassage and the Brotfabrik.

“Programmatically, the arc is drawn from the strongly noticeable effects of the global crises – via film as a medium of protest – to the examination of individual and collective perceptions,” says the new festival director Carla Marie Lehner. The This Human Rights festival is celebrating its 15th edition and once again features films that you don’t usually get to see so quickly. For example, the film “Into my name”, which is as sincere as it is tender: Four young trans men in Italy today are bound by their friendship, and the audience is just so involved. That’s what makes “Into my name” special.

New Urban Landscapes/Art of Panic

“Into my name” tells the story of the lives of four trans men in Italy.

An intimate and tender portrait of young trans men

Four portraits of young people flow together and the transition that all four are in is a theme. The big questions about the plan for life, love and the legal situation come up here by themselves. Leo does a podcast and interviews the others, but that only serves as a loose thread. At the beginning Nico lives on a farm with his girlfriend and the dynamic between the two is a story in itself in the film. Andrea writes and has studied philosophy, and Raffi is a partner in a bicycle shop.

The transition is one of the most subversive nonviolent acts you can do, Leo says at one point, and a friend listens. In general, “Into my name” is about being quiet and watching for a change from all the shabby debates about trans people. And this documentary is also visually beautiful. Director Nicolò Bassetti captures very personal conversations and emotional states with “Into my name” and approaches everything gently.

Do you think all the suffering and bitterness caused by the “journey” is a stereotype, one asks the girlfriend. Are you a girl or a boy, another of the four protagonists was asked by another child as a child in the swimming pool. With a little patience at the beginning, the film develops its very own dynamic. With its selection of scenes, “Into my name” often seems like a feature film. Executive Producer is Elliot Page.

One percent of humanity are trans people and in no country in the world do they have the same rights as other citizens, director Nicolò Bassetti writes in an insert at the end. The letter from his own child prompted him to shoot the documentary. In his mid-20s, his child told him that from now on he would live as a man. Together they found the four protagonists of “Into my name”.

Young trans man builds a bike, scene

New Urban Landscapes/Art of Panic

„Golden Land“ und „The Happy Worker“

An extraordinary and heartwarming family story is happening „Golden Land“ on. A family man returns to his native country of Somalia after 25 years in Finland because he received a call from his uncle. Chinese wanted to buy the piece of land owned by the family. It turns out: gold, copper and cobalt are in the ground there. And the move of his wife and young children has other surprises in store. “Golden Land” by Inka Achté is a feel-good documentary.

Who wants to work, asks „The Happy Worker“ and the answer at first glance in the offices in the film is: not like that. In “The Happy Worker”, John Webster explains how the satisfaction of one’s own employees is prevented in office workplaces according to a sabotage manual from the last century.

The film is a mixture of personal experiences of a group of people who found that they had completely exhausted their work. The American psychologist Christina Maslach talks about her studies on burnout and the cultural anthropologist David Graeber, who died in 2020, explains that the less you earn the more your job contributes to the common good. And then lots of numbers tumble through the image, and although not all of the data mentioned is located for illustration purposes, “The Happy Worker” is an acceptably entertaining examination of modern office work life, without any motivational quotes.

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