How to Live in the Federal Republic of Germany

Director: Harun Farocki
Year Released: 1990
Rating: 2.5

Experimental filmmaker Farocki examines several people in training for a variety of professions in the Fatherland - they include nurses, police officers, interviewers, strippers (and other vague jobs I couldn't make out). The view is of a society systematically programmed to handle a variety of situations and produce prepared responses - particularly odd is the scene where the stripper has her 'act' reviewed with methodical attention, right down to how she moves her fingers when she zips down her skirt (equal attention is paid to the proper way to wipe around a vagina). What is telling is how Farocki approaches it, however: he treats people like artificial beings themselves, and not all of his footage convincingly 'fits' into what I'm guessing is his central thesis (which was also a problem I had with Images of the World and the Inscription of War). The reliable Mr. Rosenbaum wrote what is most likely the best condensed review of this I've seen - the way he describes this is better than the way Farocki could - though "devastating" is probably not the word I'd use to describe the cumulative effect of the vignettes (I'd personally opt for "cold," "studied," etc.).