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By Phil Hall | November 9, 2011

Panu Johansson, a film student at Finland’s University of Lapland, created this trippy five-minute short that plumbs the extraordinary out of the quotidian.

Using found footage depicting the seemingly dreary daily routine at a large power plant, Johansson turns the material into an unworldly experience where men try to earn their living from massive machinery without losing their independence. The workers check the switches and dials of a massive computerized operation, yet the lack of intensive physical movement in their duties and the oversized scale of the machinery gives the impression of technology running the show, with the human staff working in supporting roles. The workers do not seem to come to life until their leisure breaks, where they insouciantly smoke cigarettes (despite signs forbidding such behavior) and happily play cards. A vintage pin-up poster on a locker wall is the only evidence of emotional desire in this oppressive environment.

Johansson brilliantly tinkered with the film, creating a startling X-ray effect with the monochrome cinematography while speeding and slowing the action without warning. An appropriately industrial-style soundtrack provides an aural complement to the visual action. In the end, humanity barely wins – if only through an end-of-shift exit down a bleak road to another unknown.

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