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International Programme 2016
Keep Frozen Hulda Rós Guðnadóttir

Workers are unloading frozen fish on the docks of Reykjavík – handling tons of freight on piecework. Melancholy images and a forklift ballet about a tough and dangerous job.

Keep Frozen

Documentary Film
67 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Helga Rakel Rafnsdóttir
Hulda Rós Guðnadóttir
Joseph Marzolla, Prins Póló
Dennis Helm
Kristján Lodmfjörd
Hulda Rós Guðnadóttir, Helga Rakel Rafnsdóttir, Hinrik Þór Svavarsson
Huldar Freyr Arnarson
“Keep Frozen” read the boxes that are hauled out of huge trawlers, loaded on pallets and packaged for further transport by dockworkers in Reykjavík. And that’s the rub: they must be fast, super-fast, because the freight must remain frozen so we can fish it out of supermarket freezers for as little money as possible. This is also the reason why the men’s working conditions get crazier and crazier: the times allotted for unloading a ship are getting shorter and shorter, the boxes they move in double shifts, often in temperatures of minus 35° degrees, are getting heavier and heavier (most of them above the permitted 25 kilos). The job is tough, monotonous and very dangerous. Loads frequently fall from the ropes; workers lose limbs or their life. But with a lot of self-mockery the men see themselves as “real men” and work with the precision of a well-rehearsed choreography.

Hulda Rós Guðnadóttir who used to work on the docks as a child takes this up and expands the classical narration of the beauty and hardship of work by a forklift ballet. The film is part of a long-term large-scale art project in whose creation the workers were involved (and brought to Leipzig, too). Next time we reach into the freezer we’ll think of them.

Grit Lemke

Nominated for Healthy Workplaces Film Award