Behind the Stone Wall

Behind the Stone Wall

Documentary Film
59 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Docks 66
Magali Roucaut
Magali Roucaut
Laureline Delom
Magali Roucaut
The machines rattle and hiss, squeak and groan. Every second robot arms dart forward and back, again and again. The people are part of the machines, pushing cardboard into steel mouths and pulling it out, in, out, to the rhythm of the machines. Punching, folding, riveting, wrapping. They stop briefly only when director Magali Roucaut asks a question, to talk about their life in the rhythm of the machines, behind the stone wall.

Over decades the inhabitants of this district in the middle of Paris, who speak from off-screen, hardly noticed the fact that a medium-sized company produced cardboard boxes here. No mass-produced goods for Scandinavian furniture stores but carefully manufactured special containers for archives and libraries. Now the small factory must go – the facade already bears a poster for the lofts that are to be built here to “upgrade” the district. Roucaut is interested in what is about to vanish here, the workers’ lives and biographies – all of them migrants, some of them second generation employees. She documents the disappearance of labour from our environment, its move to the periphery and probably soon to Asia. You only realise that some things were there when they are gone, which is what Roucaut opposes in her quiet, precisely observed requiem.

Grit Lemke

Nominated for Healthy Workplaces Film Award