Author Archives: jca

Made In Thailand (1999)


Directors: Eve-Laure Moros and Linzy Emery

Synopsis (Women Make Movies): In Thailand, women make up 90 percent of the labor force responsible for garments and toys for export by multinational corporations. This powerful, revealing documentary about women factory workers and their struggle to organize unions exposes the human cost behind the production of everyday items that reach our shores. Probing the profound impact of the New World Order on the populations that provide the global economy with cheap labor, MADE IN THAILAND also profiles women newly empowered by their campaign for human and worker’s rights. Several of these women are survivors of the 1993 Kader Toy Factory fire, one of the worst industrial fires in history. Today they are highly effective leaders in the grass-roots movement mobilizing workers in their recently industrialized country.


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Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Documentary, Global Economy, Organizing, Women


Nalini By Day, Nancy by Night (2005)


Director: Sonali Gulati

Synopsis (Women Make Movies): In this insightful documentary, filmmaker Sonali Gulati explores complex issues of globalization, capitalism and identity through a witty and personal account of her journey into India’s call centers. Gulati, herself an Indian immigrant living in the US, explores the fascinating ramifications of outsourcing telephone service jobs to India—including how native telemarketers take on Western names and accents to take calls from the US, UK and Australia.

A fresh juxtaposition of animation, archival footage, live action shots and narrative work highlight the filmmaker’s presence and reveal the performative aspects of her subjects. With fascinating observations on how call centers affect the Indian culture and economy, NALINI BY DAY, NANCY BY NIGHT raises important questions about the complicated consequences of globalization.



Apache 8 (2011)


Director: Sande Zeig

Synopsis (Women Make Movies): Between 1974 and 2005, a crew of women from the White Mountain Apache Tribe fought raging fires in Arizona and other states. Featuring extensive interviews, childhood photos, and on-location and news footage, this insightful and honest documentary profiles the Apache 8 group through four women, who share their experiences. Interweaving the scenes of raging fires, intense training sessions, and disrupted home life are personal stories of sacrifice, tragedy, pride, and accomplishment. While the women may have initially set out to try and earn a living in their economically ravaged community, they quickly discover an inner strength and resilience that speaks to their traditions and beliefs as Native women.


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Posted by on April 17, 2012 in Documentary, Public Sector, Women


Dish: Women, Waitressing and the Art of Service (2010)


Director: Maya Gallus

Synopsis (Women Make Movies): Why do women bring your food at local diners, while in high-end establishments waiters are almost always men? DISH, by Maya Gallus, whose acclaimed GIRL INSIDE (2007) won Canada’s Gemini Award for documentary directing, answers this question in a delicious, well-crafted deconstruction of waitressing and our collective fascination with an enduring popular icon. Digging beyond the obvious, Gallus, who waited tables in her teens, explores diverse dynamics between food servers and customers, as well as cultural biases and attitudes they convey. Her feminist analysis climbs the socio-economic ladder—from the bustling world of lower-end eateries, where women prevail as wait staff, to the more genteel male-dominated sphere of haute cuisine. Astute, amusing observations from women on the job in Ontario’s truck stop diners, Montreal’s topless”sexy restos,” a Parisian super-luxe restaurant, and Tokyo’s fantasy “maid cafés”, as well as male customers’ telling comments, disclose how gender, social standing, earning opportunities, and working conditions intersect in the food service industry.


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Posted by on April 17, 2012 in Documentary, Women



Europlex (2003)


Directors: Ursula Biemann and Angela Sanders

Synopsis (Women Make Movies): The fourth in Ursula Biemann’s critically acclaimed series of video essays that investigates migration across borders, EUROPLEX, a collaboration with Angela Sanders, tracks the daily, sometimes illicit, border crossings between Morocco and Spain- a rare intersection of the first and third worlds. Paying off officials to look the other way, workers smuggle contraband across the border, sometimes crossing up to 11 times a day. In a now common scenario of global economics, Moroccan women work in North Africa to produce goods destined for the European market. And in perhaps the most surreal example of border logic, domesticas commute into a Spanish enclave in Moroccan territory, losing two hours as they step into the European time zone. With a mesmerizing soundtrack and a dizzying blend of video footage, digital graphics and text, the film exposes a fascinating, often hidden layer in the cultural and economic landscape between Europe and Africa- revealing the new rules and profound implications of globalization.


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Posted by on April 17, 2012 in Documentary, Migrant workers, Women


Hell to Pay (1988)


Directors: Alexandra Anderson and Anne Cottringer

Synopsis (Women Make Movies): A moving and politically sophisticated analysis of the international debt situation through the eyes of the women of Bolivia, the poorest country in Latin America. Although most directly affected by government austerity programs, peasant women are assumed not to understand the workings of international capital and foreign policy. HELL TO PAY poignantly contradicts such assumptions as teachers, textile workers and miners’ wives speak vividly and with great comprehension of the causes of the debt crisis and the burden they are forced to bear.


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Posted by on April 17, 2012 in Documentary, Women


Escuela (School) [2002]


Director: Hannah Weyer

Synopsis (Women Make Movies): There are over 800,000 students enrolled in migrant education programs in the United States and, of those, only 45-50% ever finish high school. ESCUELA, the sequel to Hannah Weyer’s critically acclaimed documentary LA BODA, personalizes these glaring statistics through the honest portrait of a teenage Mexican-American farm worker, Liliana Luis.



Workers in Peril, Union in Action (2009)


Director: Michael Connolly

Synopsis (DC Foundation): Covers the recent recession’s effect on workers, and auto workers specifically. Also touches on pension and severance issues. Great footage and editing. Narrated by Jian Gomeshi.


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Posted by on April 17, 2012 in Documentary


Deadline for Action (1946)


Director: Carl Marzani

Synopsis (WorldCat): This film analyses the post-World War II economic situation as experienced by one UE worker named Bill Turner. It focuses on the impact of the nation-wide strike in 1946 when over two million workers went out in protest over wage cutbacks. An animation sequence explains the role of multinational corporations and reveals their questionable business practices overseas during the war.



Millions of Us (1935)


Directors: Slavko Vorkapich (as Jack Smith), Tina Taylor

Synopsis (BAM/PFA): The story of millions of unemployed in the soup kitchen and breadline days vs. the millions still working, personalized in the drama of a young man driven by hunger to become a scab, and whose experiences lead him to recognize his common interests with the strikers and to be converted to trade unionism.

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Posted by on April 17, 2012 in Drama, Strikes-Strikebreaking-Lockouts