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‘Why does life have to be so complicated?’ A school trip to the world of work

JA BizTown is an elementary school programme in the United States that prepares children for adulthood by engaging them in a day-long simulation of the ‘real world’ – including opportunities to ‘operate banks, manage restaurants, write checks and vote for mayor’. The short documentary The Field Trip follows a group of fifth-grade students in Portland, Oregon throughout their field trip to a simulated town – a large indoor area fitted with a bevy of faux buildings and storefronts. As the day unfolds, what is designed to be a valuable learning experience often doubles as an all-too-real window into the quotidian frustrations of navigating the bureaucratic maze of life in the modern workforce. Donning business attire or hardhats, the students thumb through binders, hopelessly click at computer screen errors and find themselves being redirected to other buildings and departments. Using an observational style, the US filmmakers Meghan O’Hara, Mike Attie and Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck pair endearing, laugh-out-loud moments with a somewhat bleak commentary on work in the 21st century.

Directors: Meghan O’Hara, Mike Attie, Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck

26 October 2021

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