EVERY PULSE OF THE HEART IS WORK
A film by Paweł Wojtasik
2019, 86 minutes
2019, 86 minutes
Shot primarily in Varanasi, India’s oldest and holiest city, the central theme of Paweł Wojtasik’s (End of Life) Every Pulse of the Heart is Work – previously titled The End and the Means – is work, but work as understood as devotion.
Five years in the making, the film consists of meditative portraits of a broad range of laborers, such as a crane operator, a surgeon, a weaver, a priest, a masseur, a tabla drum maker, and others. The camera enters into an intimately attentive relation with the subjects and their workplaces: a cremation ground, a hospital, an apartment tower under construction. The streets of the city themselves form an important work site, where much of the activity takes place.
With his attentive, unobtrusive approach to his subjects, Wojtasik simultaneously explores labor as a material process, a state of mind, and an integral component of a larger network of social and economic relations. The work of a dentist is granted the same time and attention as that of a street beggar; both forms of labor take place on the street, where they can be observed both by the filmmakers and the inhabitants of Varanasi as they go about their daily lives. In the end, the singular portraits of Indian workers build towards a composite vision of society, where each has a place in the tangled web of human endeavor.
Official Selection, Montreal International Documentary Festival Official Selection, Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival Official Selection, Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival
"Among the highlights is Every Pulse of the Heart is Work, by Polish-born video artist and documentarian Pawel Wojtasik, whose last feature, End of Life, was nominated for a European Film Award. Lensed in India, his latest is a meditation on people’s devotion to their work as a form of Hindu meditation.” – Variety
"It feels more necessary now than ever, these pictures of the underclass... allowing the subjects to maintain some of their mystery, their secrets. and the emphasis on context, medium shots, allowing the background to seep in and become part of each portrait."
– Mike Hoolboom, filmmaker
"Very beautiful. Michael Glawogger would be proud."
– Scott MacDonald, author of A Critical Cinema: Interviews with Independent Filmmakers (5 volumes) and American Ethnographic Film and Personal Documentary