Author Archives: Labor Film Database

The Revolutionist: Eugene V. Debs

2019 56:49:00
Eugene Victor Debs was an American socialist, political activist, trade unionist, one of the founding members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and candidate of the Socialist Party of America for President of the United States. A documentary about Eugene V. Debs made by Indianapolis public TV station WFYI and narrated by Danny Glover.
More info here

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Posted by on February 16, 2021 in 2021 Shortlist, A: New/Just Added


Glory Days: Boston Colonial Packinghouse Workers Recall the Strike of 1954 – 55

A tribute to Boston’s Colonial Packinghouse Workers of Local 11, who, in 1954, survived the city’s longest strike and made interracial cooperation a hallmark of their struggle. Released in 1988; remastered in 2019.

Glory Days is a documentary about Packinghouse Workers Local 11’s strike in Boston in 1954-55.  This strike, the longest in Massachusetts history, was one in which black and white workers and leaders participated, and in which a local came back after being decertified.

The video was recently remastered. It was originally made by a local film maker and the Massachusetts History Workshop in 1988 and included interviews with original leaders and strikers. There are also scenes from a reunion organized 2 years after the plant was closed when the company was bought in 1986.

29 minutes; entire video available above



2018 ‧ Drama/Crime ‧ 2h 1m
Initial release: June 8, 2018 (Japan)
Director: Hirokazu Koreeda
Japanese: 万引き家族
Awards: Palme d’Or, Japan Academy Prize for Picture of the Year, MORE
Nominations: Cannes Jury Prize, Cannes Best Director Award,

On the margins of Tokyo, a dysfunctional band of outsiders is united by fierce loyalty and a penchant for petty theft. When the young son is arrested, secrets are exposed that upend their tenuous, below-the-radar existence.



2020 ‧ 1h 32m
Filmmaker Jeff Kaufman presents an immersive portrait of human rights activist and political prisoner Nasrin Sotoudeh and the remarkably resilient Iranian women’s rights movement.
Initial release: October 1, 2020
Director: Jeff Kaufman
Narrated by: Olivia Colman
Cast: Olivia Colman
Producers: Jeff Kaufman, Marcia Ross
Music composed by: Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty

NOTE: “She is, among other things, a lawyer-activist for labor in Iran. Iran has now imprisoned her again. The film is powerfully moving.”

Film website


Working Man

Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 49 minutes.
Rent or buy on FandangoNOW, iTunes and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators.

Director: Robert Jury
Writer: Robert Jury
Stars: Peter Gerety, Billy Brown, Talia Shire, Michael Brunlieb, Bea Cordelia
Running Time: 1h 49m
Genre: Drama

NYT ‘Working Man’ Review: Evolving on the Assembly Line


The Chambermaid (La Camarista)

2018 ‧ Drama ‧ 1h 42m

A young chambermaid working in one of the most luxurious hotels in Mexico City enrolls in the hotel’s adult education program to help improve her life.
Initial release: November 14, 2019 (Brazil)
Director: Lila Aviles
Language: Spanish
Nominations: Ariel Award for Best Breakthrough Artist, MORE
Awards: Ariel Award for Best First Work, Platino Award for Best Ibero-American First Film

The aspirations and daily life of a young woman who works at a posh hotel in Mexico City are the subject of this insightful feature film. More details here.


Los Banistas (Open Cage)

2014 ‧ Drama/Romance ‧ 1h 24m
1h 23min | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 1 April 2016 (Mexico) Economy has collapsed. Among the affected ones lives the rebel teenager Flavia, and her old and grumpy neighbor Martin. Both will learn to relate , not just to survive the crisis, but to find the sense of their lives.

Initial release: 2014 (Mexico)
Director: Max Zunino
Producers: Max Zunino, Sofía Espinosa, Gloria Charrasco, Joceline Hernandez
Screenplay: Max Zunino, Sofía Espinosa
Nominations: Ariel Award for Best First Work

Two Mexico City neighbors – a teenaged girl trying to become independent and an aging salesman laid off from his job – come to terms with each other and with poor people who have set up an encampment in the street outside their door.
Details here


La Mano Invisible (The Invisible Hand)

This brilliant feature film from Spain provides a rare look at work in today’s society. As it opens, an industrial warehouse has been turned into a stage. Eleven workers from different fields have been hired to perform their normal tasks in front of an audience that comes to see “The Work Show.” At first, they are proud to have their skills recognized, but drama ensues when the faceless producers of the show start demanding drastic increases in productivity.

Spanish with English subtitles

With Josean Bengoextea, Bárbara Santa-Cruz, Marta Larralde, Luis Callejo, José Luis Torrijo, Marina Salas, Daniel Pérez Prada, Edu Ferrés, Esther Ortega, Elisabet Gelabert

An industrial warehouse is turned into a stage. Eleven ordinary professionals are hired to do their work in front of an audience with apparent normality: a mason, a butcher, a seamstress, a teleoperator, a waiter, a mechanic, a computer operator, and a cleaner. Meanwhile, from the darkness of the auditorium, dozens of visitors observe the ‘wonderful’ work show. Work of art, reality show, macabre experiment: they do not know what they’ve got into, nor who is the hand that moves the strings in that wicked theater.

With impeccable performances, and a surprising ending, the adaptation of the novel by Isaac Rosa is an astonishing parable of work in contemporary society.

2016 ‧ Drama ‧ 1h 23m
Initial release: November 5, 2016
Director: David Macián
Producer: David Macián
Music composed by: Paco Alcázar
Screenplay: David Macián, Daniel Cortázar

Details/order here from Pragda


Posted by on February 16, 2021 in 2021 Shortlist, A: New/Just Added


Dear Comrades

2020 ‧ Drama/History ‧ 2h 1m
In 1962, workers from a small industrial town go on strike when the communist government raises food prices.
Initial release: November 12, 2020 (Russia)
Director: Andrei Konchalovsky
Russian: Дорогие товарищи!
Nominations: Volpi Cup for Best Actress, Grand Jury Prize, MORE
Producers: Andrei Konchalovsky, Alisher Usmanov

When the communist government raises food prices in 1962, the rebellious workers from the small industrial town of Novocherkassk go on strike. The massacre which then ensues is seen through the eyes of a devout party activist. Dear Comrades! received critical praise out of the Venice Film Festival, with Variety calling it “scintillating” and “meticulous and majestic, epic in scope and tattoo-needle intimate in effect,” and The Playlist describing it as “a fascinating blend of dark satire and bleak archaeology.”

Directed by Andrei Konchalovsky
Written by Andrei Konchalovsky and Elena Kiseleva
Starring Julia Vysotskaya, Vladislav Komarov, Andrei Gusev, Yulia Burova and Sergei Erlish

“Dear Comrades!” Is Andrei Konchalovsky’s Masterpiece (NYT)


Tales From The Long Memory

SYNOPSIS : In the autumn, when the leaves are down, it’s the time that folk singing rabble rouser U. Utah Phillips thinks about hitting the rails. As a young man he crisscrossed the country on freight trains in search of teachers that would help to understand himself and where he came from. During this time he experienced the ultimate freedom of having no home ahead and none behind but he also experienced the works of mercy as he faced the difficulties of his journey. He discovered the dynamic struggle of people to organize themselves and demand a quality of life for themselves and those around them that provides bread yes, but roses too.

Tales From the Long Memory follows the people who look to Utah as their teacher now while they continue the work that inspired him throughout his life. In Detroit the Wobbly Kitchen shows how the simple act of feeding someone can spark a community of solidarity in a city struggling to rebuild its glory. In Madison the sweet sounds of labor songs echo through the capital building every day at noon. In Portland the Sisters of the Road Café serve up dignity and nourishment at a price you can afford. And in a quaint northern California gold rush town, a dedicated group of community members grow an idea into a house of hospitality called Utah’s Place.

Charlie Hall
Director – Charles Hall
Genre – Documentary
Duration – 54 minutes
Country – United States
Language – English
Year – 2021