In the center of the Ruhr Area, one of Germany′s key industrial regions, the famous "heartbeat of steel" has gone silent. A few years after the hypermodern coke plant at Kaiserstuhl, built at a cost of 650 million Euro, was shut down, 400 Chinese workers start breaking it down into manageable parts to ship them back to their homeland: disassembly in the West – reassembly in the Far East. Where up to 800 people used to work, the last 30 German employees are now supervising the so-called Shutdown Department. Communication between the two groups is difficult. Highly motivated people from a low-wage country come face-to-face with financially better-off workers in an industrialized nation who are now suddenly bereft of future prospects.
For 18 months, filmmakers Ulrike Franke and Michael Loeken watched as a gigantic industrial site was dismantled, documenting the stories that accompanied its disappearance: The working tools favored by the Germans are rules for safety and environmental protection - just the things the newcomers like to ignore. While the Chinese work 60-hours a week far away from home and family, the "old foreigners" are hardly present at the site for more than eight hours at a time. Two worlds collide. Who is ultimately the winner and who the loser when a whole region of Germany experiences first-hand the impact of globalization, while in the Middle Empire new visions come and go with each passing day?
Source: German films Service & Marketing GmbH
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