Lunch Break

Institute History

  • 2009 Sundance Film Festival


Artist and filmmaker Sharon Lockhart is known for creating beautiful, meditative films that incorporate subtle movement and a static, photographic gaze to examine her subjects. In this daring pair of new works, Lunch Break and Exit, Lockhart explores a new approach, an insisting sense of motion that produces more of what might be described as a photographic experience. In Lunch Break, the camera is entirely untethered, slowly moving in a single tracking shot through a long corridor where workers are enjoying their lunch hour at the Bath Iron Works, a massive shipyard in Maine. In Exit, the frame constantly fills with teeming workers as they head home after a long day’s work.

Lunch Break and Exit are examples of Lockhart’s timely new film and photographic series about the present state of U.S. labor. The organic rhythm of workers in the shipyard receives a lyrical examination at a juncture in American economic history that may well make such scenarios obsolete. As viewers, we must completely surrender conventional narrative expectations and let ourselves be transported into the atmosphere and idiosyncratic details of life at the shipyard. We develop a sense of comfort and sentimental camaraderie with the workers as they enjoy restful moments amidst productive labor. When the final frame passes the shutter, we have become so enmeshed with shipyard life that we don’t want it to end.

— Shari Frilot


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