A film by Brazilian director Leon Hirszman called ABC da Greve [The “ABC” of the Strike, a pun on São Paulo’s ABC region, where the strike began], about the Brazilian metalworkers strike of 1979.
Category Archives: Industrial/Mine/Manufacturing
2h | Drama | 18 April 1982 (USA)
Brazilian drama film directed by Leon Hirszman, based on Gianfrancesco Guarnieri’s play of the same name. Union leader’s son doesn’t want to engage in a strike, because his wife is pregnant, thus disregarding his father’s tradition of political activism. The film revolves around a working-class family in São Paulo in 1980. Otávio, a syndicalist leader, and Romana are the parents of Tião, whose girlfriend, Maria, becomes pregnant. Fearing to be fired and thus unable to support his now fiancée, Tião does not participate on a strike, which starts a series of family conflicts.
Jack Adams, spokesman for workmen in a factory, pleads with the owner, Griscom, against a twenty percent cut in wages. Griscom refuses to consider the men’s side, so the men walk out. Jack, seeking work at another factory, is “black-listed.” He leaves in an ugly mood. Unable to find work anywhere, he is reduced to starvation. His wife needs a doctor. Jack sends a note to Griscom pleading to be taken back. Griscom answers, “Glad to see you so humble, but you can’t work for me.” Jack, irate, determines on vengeance. Outside Griscom’s mansion Jack is overcome by weakness. Elsie, Griscom’s favorite child, finds Jack, and has him taken into the house. Griscom comes in, suspects Jack’s intentions, and accuses him. Jack tells of his terrible suffering. Elsie tries to console him. Jack is overcome. Griscom relents and offers food. Jack refuses. Elsie puts her arms around Jack, and he accepts the food. The touching scene penetrates the armor of Griscom’s selfishness, and he offers his hand to Jack, who accepts it.
Spain | 2017 | Documentary | 68 minutes
In 1966, 800 workers from the Biscayan company ‘Laminación de Bandas en Frio’ carried out the longest strike of Franco’s dictatorship. In a tumultuous historic moment within the framework of growing organisation of the working class and antiFranco sentiments, hundreds of residents of Etxebarri, Basauri and Otxarkoaga launched a political struggle that would end up being an example for the entire labor movement that would follow. Through the main characters and their stories, anecdotes and experiences, we create an image of the 163 days of strike that made the dictatorship’s foundations shake.
Mary Jirmanus Saba
Lebanon | 2017 | Documentary | 93 minutes
Dreams of popular revolution, erased by civil war. A young girl martyred at a factory strike in Beirut in 1972 – her identity shrouded in mystery. A meditation on revolution, cinema and their possibilities, past and present.
In her directorial debut, Mary Jirmanus Saba deals with a forgotten revolution, saving from oblivion bloodily suppressed strikes at Lebanese tobacco and chocolate factories. These events from the 1970s, which held the promise of a popular revolution and, with it, of women’s emancipation were erased from collective memory by the country’s civil wars. Rich in archival footage from Lebanon’s militant cinema tradition, the film reconstructs the spirit of that revolt, asking of the past how we might transform the present.
Director: Stéphane Brizé
Stars: Vincent Lindon, Mélanie Rover, Jacques Borderie
The presentation of Stephane Brize’s At War received a 15 minute ovation at the end. The film details the way that French workers at a factory, who were promised work for five years and who gave back hours and wages after two years, find out that the German owned company, which is making a profit, is going back on its word. It is closing because it can reduce wages even further by moving to Romania. The film premiered the day after Oxfam announced that of the leading industrialized countries French businesses returned the greatest share of their profits, 68%, to shareholders who simply pocketed the money, a factor which is revealed in the film as also driving the plant closing. The film concentrates solidly on the attempts to resist the firing of the factory workers with little psychologizing of his characters in a way that keeps it focused on their economic plight. The only problem was the overemphasis on one worker, played by Vincent London, one of the only professional actors in the cast, but miscast in a film whose subject was the collective group of workers. This character though does come finally to expresses the near hopelessness of workers caught in the global corporate capitalist vice, and the ovation at the premiere seemed to be as much for French workers themselves as for the cast, crew, and film.
France, Germany / 2017/143 min
Ben Russell’s third feature is an apparent simplicity that is only matched by its power of evocation. Divided into two distinct parts (and an epilogue), this conceptual ethnographic film takes us to the heart of two sites of intense manual work poles apart from each other. The first is a Serbian underground copper mine. The second is an open-pit gold mine in Suriname. Sublimely shot in super 16mm, in black and white and color, Good Luck is openly a study of contrasts that encourages us to reflect on the differences – and the similarities – between the anxious atmosphere of the state mine and the sinking sun of the semi-legal career. Constantly emphasizing the individuality and mutual aid of the workers, Good Luck is also, and above all, a great gesture of humanist solidarity. (BD)
Ben Russell’s third feature is as powerful as it is apparently simple. Presented in two distinct parts plus an epilogue, this conceptual ethnographic film transports us to two intense and very different manual labor sites. The first is an underground copper mine in Serbia, the second year open-pit gold mine in Suriname. Beautifully shot in 16mm, in both color and black and white, Good Luck is a study in contrasts that encourages us to think about the differences and similarities between the tense atmosphere of the state-run mine and the brutal sun beating down on the semi- legal quarry. Always highlighting the workers’ individuality and solidarity, Good Luck is also a work of deep humanist solidarity.