Author Archives: jca

Titanic with Len Goodman (2012)


Director: Edward Hart

Network: BBC1

Broadcast Date: March 30, 2012

Synopsis (BBC): In a new three-part series, Titanic With Len Goodman, the Strictly Come Dancing judge discovers how the impact of the Titanic disaster is still felt a century after the ship sank.

Len has his own connection to the Titanic. Before he was a dancer he was a welder for Harland and Woolf, the company that built Titanic between 1909 and 1912 in Belfast. Len worked for them 50 years later at their yard in East London.

To mark the centenary of the Titanic tragedy Len explores the ship’s 100 year legacy and learns how for the victims’ families – and for the survivors themselves – the sinking of the ship was just the beginning of the story.

Generations later, those stories linked to the Titanic are still unfolding. Len meets the modern-day descendants to learn how, a century on, Titanic’s legacy lives on.

In the first programme of the series, Len discovers how Titanic claimed the lives of eight men in Belfast before she even touched the water. He tries his hand at riveting, experiencing first-hand the blood and sweat that went into building a ship a century ago. He visits Southampton, to find out why it was the city hit hardest by Titanic’s death toll. He also meets descendants of Titanic’s crew, who describe how just traumatised the disaster left their relatives.

Len also explores the story of the Titanic band. It’s one of the best known stories from the ship, but few will have heard how the death of one of the musicians tore his family apart for one hundred years. Len meets a descendant who tells him how and why this happened.

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Posted by on April 20, 2012 in Documentary



Performing the Border (1999)


Director: Ursula Biemann

Synopsis (Women Make Movies): A video essay set in the Mexican-U.S. border town of Ciudad Juarez, where U.S. multinational corporations assemble electronic and digital equipment just across from El Paso, Texas. This imaginative, experimental work investigates the growing feminization of the global economy and its impact on Mexican women living and working in the area. Looking at the border as both a discursive and material space, the video explores the sexualization of the border region through labor division, prostitution, the expression of female desires in the entertainment industry, and sexual violence in the public sphere. Candid interviews with Mexican women factory and sex workers, as well as activists and journalists, are combined with scripted voiceover analysis, screen text, scenes and sounds recorded on site, and found footage to give new insights into the gendered conditions inscribed by the high-tech industry at its low-wage end.



Remote Sensing (2001)


Director: Ursula Biemann

Synopsis (Women Make Movies): In Biemann’s latest video, she traces the routes and reasons of women who travel across the globe for work in the sex industry. By using the latest images from NASA satellites, the film investigates the consequences of the U.S. military presence in South East Asia as well as European migration politics. This video-essay takes an earthly perspective on cross-border circuits, where women have emerged as key actors and expertly links new geographic technologies to the sexualization and displacement of women on a global scale. By revealing how technologies of marginalization affect women in their sexuality, REMOTE SENSING aspires to displace and resignify the feminine within sexual difference and cultural representation.



Some Real Heat (2001)


Director: Stefanie Jordan

Synopsis (Women Make Movies): SOME REAL HEAT explores the small and relatively new world of female firefighters in San Francisco and their upward climb to gain access to a male-dominated field. Armed with axes, chainsaws, muscle, heart and determination, six daring women demonstrate how they single-handedly turn gender roles upside down by putting their lives on the line everyday in one of the riskiest jobs around. As they passionately talk about the tools of the trade, overcoming their fears and helping others, they reveal the fascinating history of women fire fighters and the gender bias that barred them from officially entering the U.S. Fire Department until 1974. They also explain the important role women paramedics play in fire departments and the surprising number of medical emergencies that they attend to on a weekly basis – a number that far outweighs actually putting out fires. Uncovering the myth and reality of this dangerous profession, this inspiring piece intimately delves into the strength and character that distinguishes these women as true modern-day heroes.


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Posted by on April 19, 2012 in Documentary, Women



Trade Secrets (1985)


Director: Stephanie Antalocy

Synopsis (Women Make Movies): Perfect as a training tape or as an historical look at labor issues in the 1980s, TRADE SECRETS has been purchased by hundreds of colleges, libraries, community and women’s groups. “An ironworker, a sprinkler fitter, and an electrician; all women who describe their jobs and the physical and personal obstacles they overcame to get where they are. In the 1970’s, because of jobs with new equal employment laws, women began to enter the construction trades challenging the traditional male world. Regarded with hostility and suspicion, not all women completed their apprenticeships to be fully qualified as journey women. One who did, an ironworker, describes how tired she was each day as work ended because of her refusal to give up. An Asian woman who had been a secretary for ten years, speaks of suing for harassment when she lost a job after refusing to go out with her foreman. A female welder tells of getting burns until she developed skills and the eventual love of her job. Marrying a fellow welder from the shipyards, she relies on him to help out at home in raising their family. A sprinkler fitter describes the problems she had with men on the job until they saw that she could carry her own share of the work. A woman who teaches skills to women entering the trades explains that she teaches self-esteem and confidence building to women more than the skills themselves. The greater financial power of women in the trades, and their new sense of identity as journey women are discussed in this film about some of the changes taking place in the workplace today.


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Posted by on April 19, 2012 in Construction Trades, Documentary, Women


Troubled Harvest (1990)


Directors: Sharon Genasci and Dorothy Velasco

Synopsis (Women Make Movies): This award-winning documentary examines the lives of women migrant workers from Mexico and Central America as they work in grape, strawberry and cherry harvests in California and the Pacific Northwest. Interviews with women farm workers reveal the dangerous health effects of pesticides on themselves and their children, the problems they encounter as working mothers of young children, and the destructive consequences of U.S. immigration policies on the unity of their families. Featuring an interview with Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union.



Women of Steel (1984)


Producer: Mon Valley Media

Synopsis (Women Make Movies): For women who entered the nation’s steel mills in the 1970s, the mill was a ticket out of traditionally low-paying “women’s jobs” and in some cases, out of poverty. But any gains for women were short lived. WOMEN OF STEEL looks at a turning point in the history of American industry and the disastrous effects widesweeping layoffs and plant closings had on women and families, affirmative action plans, and the union movement. An important historical documentary which has an eerie relevance to women’s place in the American economy in the 1990s.


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Posted by on April 19, 2012 in Documentary, Women



Made In India: SEWA in Action (1998)


Director: Patricia Plattner

Synopsis (Women Make Movies): This powerful documentary is a portrait of SEWA, the now-famous women’s organization in India that holds to the simple yet radical belief that poor women need organizing, not welfare. SEWA, or the Self-Employed Women’s Association, corresponds to the Indian word sewa, meaning service. Based in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad, a dusty old textile town on the edge of the Gujarati desert, SEWA is at its core a trade union for the self-employed. It offers union membership to the illiterate women who sell vegetables for 50 cents a day in the city markets, or who pick up paper scraps for recycling from the streets–jobs that most Indian men don’t consider real work.

Inspired by the political, economic and moral model advocated by Mahatma Gandhi, SEWA has grown since its founding to a membership of more than 217,000 and its bank now has 61,000 members, assets of $4 million and customers who walk in each day to deposit a dollar or take out 60 cents. Following the lives of six women involved in the organization, including Ela R. Bhat, its visionary founder, Plattner’s documentary is an important look at the power of grassroots global feminism.



Love, Women and Flowers (1988)


Directors: Marta Rodriguez and Jorge Silva

Synopsis (Women Make Movies): At any time of year in the U.S., carnations of every color are plentiful and cheap – but the ready availability of these beautiful flowers comes at a global price. Thousands of miles away from the bright displays in U.S. stores, hazardous labor conditions endanger the 90,000 women who work in Colombia’s flower industry.

According to a 2007 report, approximately 60 percent of all flowers sold in the U.S. come from Colombia, where the use of pesticides and fungicides – some banned in the developed countries that export them – has drastic health and environmental consequences. With urgency and intimacy, this film evokes the testimonies of the women workers and documents their efforts to organize. As women workers continue to struggle in this industry (in 2007 almost 200 workers were fired from the largest flower plantation in Colombia for their attempts to unionize and improve their conditions) this powerful and unique documentary remains an important resource for those interested in globalization, environmentalism, labor issues, social struggles, and Latin American studies.


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Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Documentary, Farm & Food, Global Economy, Women


Highway Courtesans (2005)


Director: Mystelle Brabbee

Synopsis (Women Make Movies): This provocative coming-of-age film chronicles the story of a bold young woman born into the Bachara community in Central India – the last hold-out of a tradition that started with India’s ancient palace courtesans and now survives with the sanctioned prostitution of every Bachara family’s oldest girl. Guddi, Shana and their neighbor Sungita serve a daily stream of roadside truckers to support their families. Their work as prostitutes forms the core of the local economy, but their contemporary ideas about freedom of choice, gender and self-determination slowly intrude on the Bachara way of life.

HIGHWAY COURTESANS follows Guddi from the ages of 16 through 23 as she turns her world upside down, incurring the wrath of her fathers and brother as she struggles with tradition, family and love in hopes of realizing her dreams. In probing beyond the surface of a world of paradoxes, HIGHWAY COURTESANS resists easy moralizing and reveals the very real costs – financial, social and personal – for breaking with tradition. As a community hangs in the balance between traditional and contemporary values, this gripping documentary raises universal questions about sex, the roles of women, and the right of one culture to judge another.


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Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Documentary, Sex Industry/Sexuality, Women