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This short documentary takes viewers inside a graveyard shift at an innocuous-looking San Francisco call centre. Employees sit in cubicles glued to computer screens and wearing headsets. While on break, they drink coffee, watch the news, and hit the gym. But, as 911 first responders, the calls they field are often a matter of life or death. The US directors Elivia Shaw and Paloma Martinez skilfully survey the dissonant character of this unique workplace. By tracking a regular night shift at the centre, the filmmakers observe how employees meet chaos and intensity with calm and command. Through a fly-on-the-wall observational style and brief interviews with the emergency responders, The Shift probes what draws people to this unusually intense job, and how they often struggle to compartmentalise their emotions when dealing with distressing calls.
Film and visual culture
With human help, AIs are generating a new aesthetics. The results are trippy
From manners to mud – two women recall coming of age in Victorian London
Gender and identity
The joys and complications of raising a baby without gender in a binary world
The ancient world
Why did the Romans create a massive, entirely impractical map of their empire?
Human rights and justice
The staggering cruelty of Ireland’s Church-run ‘mother and baby homes’
History of ideas
Peter Singer charts the path from Hegelian philosophy to Marxist revolution
War and peace
A peace activist’s harrowing account of nuclear war is a visceral case for disarmament
Why a journeyman boxer finds contentment in the art of losing
Journey deep into the Philippine forest in search of the world’s largest, rarest eagle