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Blow for Blow (1972)

23 Jan

90m; France

Director: Marin Karmitz

Synopsis: A film about a worker’s strike at a textile plant, written and enacted by the actual striking workers. This film was a collaborative and collective effort. Videotapes of upcoming scenes were discussed by the workers, and camera angles as well as dramatic refinements were agreed on before any film was exposed. Given that the film presents the worker’s point of view and is a largely amateur effort, reviewers found it surprisingly effective as a dramatic piece. One interesting feature of the film, and of the strike itself, is that it was organized and led by women. While there had been male union leaders, they were bypassed or ousted for their lack of leadership, understanding, or negotiating skills. A small textile factory, like many others. At the beginning, women in a clothing or weaving workshop. Some of them are young, some of them are old and others are middle-aged; they come here, every day, to produce in the heat, forcing the pace, enduring their tiredness. As well as can be expected, each of them lives her life : 8 hours in the factory, a new workday begins at the way out : shopping, housework, children, husbands. New financial or affective concerns. Anyway, so many women’s life. But in the workshop, things are progressively changing. They less and less can stand to be oppressed : they sabotage machines, they stop working… The boss reacts quickly and roughly: agitators are fired. To obtain two womens reinstatement, they are all going to unite. Unite to find every kind of action which could make them attempt their goal. From union speech to the final sequestration they are going to manage a terrible fight.

 

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