OVAL filmmakers Robert Cibis and Lilian Franck
on the film and its conception.


In 1988 we were taking a walk through the city park in Nicosia, Cyprus, when we were suddenly encircled by hundreds of Sri Lanken women in colorful garments. As we were curious to know where they had come from all at once, we started up a conversation with Mali, one of the women. We found out that they were all housemaids working in Cyprus, and that employment agents had organized their recruitment in their own country and placed them into new jobs without a hitch.
At this time a friend of ours was romantically involved with a headhunter. We were fascinated to learn more about this profession, which was previously completely unknown to us. We connected the two spontaneously and thus arose the concept for „Human Capital: The Business of Work.“ Even the title was obvious to us from the very beginning.


We envision the protagonists of the film as representing a snapshot of society. We want to portray the societal process at a personal level. Our intent is to sharpen the blurry motion of the merry-go-round. To experience the laborers’ new beginnings, we jump together onto the rotating carousel with them. When we jump off, we see how the employment agencies make it work.

You are what you do. We are asking what you are, when you no longer do what you did before, and what you are, when you don’t yet do what you will do later, and we also ask the question of what you are during the gray area in between.

On trips I have always been surprised by the people for whom the journey doesn’t count. For me it is almost the most important part...In the end, it is when one lives the most...For these people this time simply doesn’t exist. For them, that time is a kind of numb time, and the only time that exists is the stopped time during which they can say that they are at the place that they have just arrived at, and from which they will part; and nothing else exists between the two. I think that it is exactly this in-between moment which exists.

Jean-Luc Godard, press conference in Avignon

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