90min or 65min 52min original English, German, Italian, French, Luganda, Hindi, Portuguese versions with English or German subtitles available
The monobloc plastic chair is the best-selling piece of furniture that ever existed, known on every continent, across all national borders and social boundaries. Estimates claim that there are a billion units of this chair worldwide. At the very least.
A feature-length documentary, MONOBLOC tells the story of how this unsightly plastic chair took the world by storm. How this chair destroys livelihoods and brings affluence. How it threatens our environment and ‘good taste’. Yet also about how the monobloc chair makes disabled people happy and the many, many millions to whom a chair is a chair and nothing more.
MONOBLOC is structured into 7 episodes, filmed on 5 continents. Each of these episodes tells a self-contained story involving different themes, inter alia beauty and design, economic rise and competition, globalisation and efficiency, ideas and ideals. To accomplish this the film accompanies protagonists, both men and women, whose lives are closely linked to the monobloc. The feature-length documentary MONOBLOC pieces all these stories together via a simple, clear-cut dramatic composition to form an intriguing, highly entertaining, and in parts deeply moving quest for clues around the globe.
Based on the examples of his protagonists, the award-winning director Hauke Wendler breaks our ultracomplex consumer world down to the question of what it truly takes in life to be happy. Distinctively marked by powerful images, a film that lives through its contrasts: In Germany, Italy and the USA. From the slums of Brazil across the megacities of India to the velds and savannahs of Uganda.
A photo from a newspaper marked the beginning of this project. It was the summer of 2011: rows upon rows of plastic chairs in a desert landscape, in the warm light of the dawning sun. Impressions of the founding of the Republic of South Sudan. For me, it was the first time I was struck with such a conscious awareness of the monobloc, which immediately prompted a question: What in the world gave birth to this ugly pile of plastic – and why?
- Director Hauke Wendler
- Producer Carsten Rau, Hauke Wendler
- Director of Photography Boris Mahlau
- Editor Sigrid Sveistrup
- Sound Patrick Benze, Julian Kraetzig
- Score Taco van Hettinga
Other films took priority, among them 3 feature-length documentaries, because their topics were more current or production queries came in from TV broadcasters. But – taking this plastic chair as a basis – the idea of making a documentary whose form is quite original and highly entertaining at the same time never let go of its hold on me again.
MONOBLOC is the kind of film you set your heart on making. This is one of the reasons why we have plotted the documentary as a quest for clues. I can be seen as author and director on-screen in the process as well, becoming active in front of the camera, often together with my team. In other words, a very personal film that pursues my questions about this chair.
Yet even so, we’re convinced that MONOBLOC can reach many people. Because the film doesn’t revolve solely around the curious tale of a piece of furniture that everyone is familiar with. MONOBLOC sets the stage for a discussion of fundamental issues and beliefs that clears the way for a look at the new: at new impressions and new views of this world and the order within it.