A love letter to corporate synergy in the age of COVID-19. Made entirely from stock footage, “Smiling Worker Coughs in Hand” achieves an unsettling atmosphere from its generic visuals of average Americans engaged in basic daily activities. Director Ben Kitnick taps into the mood of the moment with footage never meant to represent a global pandemic. A normal day finds several women and men getting up, having their morning coffee and heading to work. It’s all smiles and high fives — deals getting done, work being finished, a steady stream of positivity and workplace camaraderie. But soon the smiles start to fade, and fear and paranoia enter the picture. It’s a startling effect, seeing footage made for broad interchangeability used to signify the spread of COVID-19. We previously featured Kitnick with “Exit Statement,” an oddball comedy about a ragtag doomsday cult. He finds a much different tone here and it leaves a haunting impression.
Director: Ben Kitnick. Music: Jon Gertz.