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Category Archives: Industrial/Mine/Manufacturing

At War (En guerre)

| Drama | 16 May 2018 (France)
Cinema Libre Studio; Richard Castro: rcastro@cinemalibrestudio.com

After promising 1100 employees that they would protect their jobs, the managers of a factory decide to suddenly close up shop. Laurent takes the lead in a fight against this decision.

Director:  Stéphane Brizé

Writers:  Ralph Blindauer (collaboration), Stéphane Brizé (screenplay) | 3 more credits »

Stars:  Vincent LindonMélanie RoverJacques 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.

 

Good Luck

Ben Russell 
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.

Review (NYT): In ‘Good Luck,’ Miners in Serbia and Suriname Share a Cinematic Link

 

Bisbee ’17

A self-reflexive restaging of a violent episode in Bisbee, Ariz., in 1917, when striking miners were rounded up and left for dead in the desert.

An old mining town on the Arizona-Mexico border finally reckons with its darkest day: the deportation of 1200 immigrant miners exactly 100 years ago. Locals collaborate to stage recreations of their controversial past.

Note: historical consultant is local (DC)

“BISBEE ’17 is a nonfiction feature film by Sundance award winning director Robert Greene set in Bisbee, Arizona, an eccentric old mining town just miles away from both Tombstone and the Mexican border.

Radically combining documentary and genre elements, the film follows several members of the close knit community as they collaborate with the filmmakers to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Bisbee Deportation, where 1200 immigrant miners were violently taken from their homes by a deputized force, shipped to the desert on cattle cars and left to die.

When the last copper mines closed in 1975, the once-booming Bisbee nearly became another Arizona ghost town, but was saved by the arrival of a generation of hippies, artists and eccentrics that give the place its strange vibe today. Bisbee is considered a tiny “blue” dot in the “red” sea of Republican Arizona, but divisions between the lefties in town and the old mining families remain. Bisbee was once known as a White Man’s Camp, and that racist past lingers in the air.

As we meet the townspeople, they begin to confront the violent past of the Deportation, a long-buried secret in the old company town. As the 100th anniversary of Bisbee’s darkest day approaches, locals dress as characters on both sides of the still-polarizing event, staging dramatic recreations of scenes from the escalating miner’s strike that lead to the Deportation. Spaces in town double as past and present; reenactors become ghosts in the haunted streets of the old copper camp.

Richard plays the sheriff in a Western, Fernando portrays a Mexican miner in a Musical, a local politician is in her own telenovela. These and other enacted fantasies mingle with very real reckonings and it all builds towards a massive restaging of the Deportation itself on the exact day of its centennial anniversary.”
– David Mckeown

 

Behemoth

Zhao Liang / 2015 / 90 minutes / China

Beginning with a mining explosion in Mongolia and ending in a ghost city west of Beijing, political documentarian Zhao Liang’s visionary new film Behemoth details, in one breathtaking sequence after another, the social and ecological devastation behind an economic miracle that may yet prove illusory.

A horrific, at times surreal documentary portrait of migrant iron and coal workers in Inner Mongolia.

 

Nae Passaran

| DocumentaryAnimationHistory | 4 March 2018 (UK)

In a Scottish town in 1974, factory workers refuse to carry out repairs on warplane engines in an act of solidarity against the violent military coup in Chile. Four years pass before the engines, left to rust in factory yard, mysteriously disappear in the middle of the night.

website

 

Union Leader

Releasing January 19, 2018 | directed by Sanjay Patel
Starring Rahul Bhat, Tillotama Shome

In a country where the voice of the powerless is often suppressed, it’s time to explore the pain of labour.

A 2017 production of Dim Lights Pictures, Inc and Platoon One Films.

“It portrays workers at a (I think) chromium sulfate plant, in India, union-represented, who are dying of cancer.  One guy decides change is needed.  He organizes his co-workers, with all the ebbs and flows that happen when you do that – threats, fights, people step up and then back down, he’s beaten up.  He pisses blood.  He goes to a labor inspector who seems great – and then gets paid off by the boss.  The boss tries to pay our hero off.  There is a vote and the new union of the real workers is voted in and our hero becomes the leader. It reminds me of ‘Christ in Concrete,’ but it has a happy ending. ”
– Ann Hoffman

 

NOTHING FACTORY, THE [A FÁBRICA DE NADA]

This multilayered examination of the struggle of the blue-collar working class holds a mirror to the political landscape in contemporary Portugal, and runs the gamut from cinema vérité to neorealist musical. Employees at an elevator parts manufacturer catch thieves robbing the factory. But the thieves have been hired by the management, who soon order the workers to report for their shifts and do nothing until the company-wide layoffs can begin. Factions form around those who want to strike and save their jobs and those who just want a decent severance package. FIPRESCI Prize, 2017 Cannes Film Festival; Official Selection, 2017 Toronto, Karlovy Vary, Busan film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Pedro Pinho; SCR/PROD Tiago Hespanha, Luisa Homem, Leonor Noivo; PROD João Matos, Susana Nobre. Portugal, 2017, color, 177 min. In Portuguese and French with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Run Time: 177 Minutes
Genre: Drama