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A tragic accident in Turin’s ThyssenKrupp steel factory is recounted from the survivors’ p.o.v. in Mimmo Calopresti’s xenophobically named docu “The Germans’ Factory.” Italy’s record of industrial accidents is among Europe’s highest, but even so, the deaths of seven workers in December 2007 sent shockwaves through the nation. Calopresti’s generally respectful style works well for the material, underscoring the avertable nature of the fire and the grief that remains but crosses a line of decency at the end. Localized nature of the material means prospects are limited to home turf.

Pic opens in black-and-white with name thesps delivering family-member monologues. Then docu cuts to actual interviews with parents, wives, siblings and co-workers. Over the course of the docu, it’s clear that ThyssenKrupp officials flagrantly ignored safety regulations, knowing they were closing the plant anyway. However, justified outrage still plays a backseat to more immediate, long-lasting, and deeply moving sorrow. Unfortunately, Calopresti incorporates the 911 call, with voices of the dying at the factory — surely something no loved one should have to hear. Music is often intrusive and could be entirely eliminated.

The Germans’ Factory

Italy

  • Production: An Istituto Luce release of a Studiouno, Istituto Luce production. (International sales: Istituto Luce, Rome.) Produced by Simona Banchi, Valerio Terenzio. Executive producers, Peppe Calopresti, Piero Mascitti. Directed by Mimmo Calopresti. Screenplay, Calopresti, Cristina Cosentino.
  • Crew: Camera (color/B&W, HD-to-35mm), Paolo Ferrari; editor, Raimondo Aiello; music, Riccardo Giagni; production designer, Alessandro Marrazzo; sound (Dolby Digital), Sandro Zanon, Remo Ugolinelli, Roberto Remorino Gambotto; line producer, Chiara Capparella. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Horizons), Sept. 4, 2008. Original title: La fabbrica dei tedeschi. Running time: 86 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Valeria Golino, Monica Guerritore, Luca Lionello, Silvio Orlando, Rosalia Porcaro, Vincenzo Russo, Giuseppe Zeno.
  • Music By: