Over the Years

Not available for screening anymore

Over the Years (Über die Jahre)

Directed by Nikolaus Geyrhalter

  • Austria 2015; 188 min
  • Original version: German
  • Genre: Documentary
    • Best Film (Human Rights Competition) - BAFICI
    • Silver Eye for Best Feature-Length Documentary - Jihlava IDFF


When we see nappies being packed in cellophane by hand, we already suspect it will all soon be over. Taking the demise of a textile factory in Austria’s Waldviertel region as its starting point, with the antiquated manufacturing plant initially shown in full operation, this film poses the question of what work means for people’s self-image and character. After the factory goes bankrupt and closes, the filmmaker accompanies some of its employees as they continue to make their way, questioning them about their daily routines, the circumstances in which they live, about looking for work or the new jobs they find. One woman’s situation is precarious, but that doesn’t prevent her from bringing up her grandchildren. Another woman works here and there, flexible and resourceful. One man blossoms visibly in his newly unemployed state. Bit by bit, different aspects of their private lives and personal misfortunes emerge. What begins as the documentation of a branch of industry dying a slow death develops over the course of ten years into an epic documentary tale of life and work in the post-industrial era. It is an outstanding, moving film devoted to people.

Director's Statement

In 2003, we are told of a textile factory in the Waldviertel in which time has allegedly stood still. With the help of ancient machinery and the last remaining employees of a workforce that formerly numbered 300, the owner—now well over 70—is producing traditional fabrics for which market demand is rapidly declining. Soon thereafter, we set foot in the factory for the first time, without yet knowing where this journey will lead us. It becomes obvious very fast that we don‘t have a lot of time left before the factory will close its doors forever. In any case, we want to accompany the people we meet here for a little while longer. In the end, it evolved into more than ten years work — the time that ultimately elapsed between the beginning and the end of this film.




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