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Category Archives: Occupation/Type of Work

A Feeling Greater Than Love

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.

 

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

 

Sorry to Bother You (2018)

R | 1h 51min | Comedy, Fantasy, Sci-Fi | 13 July 2018 (USA)
Director: Boots Riley
Writer: Boots Riley
Stars: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler
website

NYT article here
“Sorry to Bother You” comes out in wide release in July 2018. The film is visually ingenious and funny, yet grounded by pointed arguments about the obstacles to black success in America, the power of strikes and the soul-draining predations of capitalism.

 

From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf

(2013, 83mins, dir. Shaina Anand & Ashok Sukumaran)

A boat has many powers: to gather a society in its making, to distribute goods, to carry people and ideas across places that seem more different than ever before. This auto-ethnographic travelogue was produced through four years of dialogue, friendship and exchange between the Mumbai-based studio CAMP and sailors from Kutch, Sindh, Baluchistan and Southern Iran, working in the wharfs of Sharjah and Dubai. Captured with cell phone cameras and set to a soundtrack of Bollywood, Pakistani and religious songs chosen by the sailors, the film sails from Gujarat to the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Aden to the Somali coast and back again, alongside cargoes ranging from medical equipment to live goats.

 

The Last Rites

(2008, 17mins, dir. Yasmine Kabir)
A haunting wordless depiction of the ship-breaking yards of Chittagong, Bangladesh. “With her images, one feels the impossible weight of the ropes, as shoeless feet are submerged ankle deep in toxic petroleum; the palpable hunger driving bodies of skin and bone to repeat arduous physical feats that would make a strong man groan.” [Alisa Lebow]

They’re called the ship-breaking yards: the graveyards of ocean-going vessels near Chittagong in Bangladesh. In the foreground, fishermen wade through low water with nets in hand; in the background, we see the gigantic ships on their sides, waiting for the day they’ll be taken apart.
The Last Rites is a short, silent account in which director Yasmine Kabir is more in search of the poetry of the images than an all-encompassing record of the events. She juxtaposes the insignificance of the men against the towering sides of the ships. The fire of the welding machine is the only warmth in the dark backgrounds of cold steel. This is where the ships come to die. Not all at once with a bang, but slowly, only as fast as the men can dismantle them. After all, the ships aren’t taken apart with big cranes, but rather by the welders, piece by piece. One sheet of metal at a time, until nothing’s left, and then more ships arrive for dismantling. The Last Rites is Kabir’s third documentary at IDFA. After her first in 2000, My Migrant Soul, her second film was screened in 2003: A Certain Liberation, a heartbreaking story about a woman who walked the streets of the town of Kopilmoni like a crazy person after her family was murdered.

 

‘Prairie Trilogy,’ All-American Stories of Socialism

Companion pieces to Mr. Hanson and Mr. Nilsson’s 1978 feature “Northern Lights,”

The first of the three films is “Prairie Fire,”
The other two films, “Rebel Earth” and “Survivor”

John Hanson and Rob Nilsson, co-directors of Cannes Camera d’Or winner Northern Lights and fellow members of San Francisco’s Cine Manifest film collective, collaborated on this remarkable series of documentaries underwritten by the North Dakota Humanities Council and the North Dakota AFL-CIO. In Prairie Fire, 97-year-old ex-organizer and poet Henry Martinson recounts the 1916 birth of the Socialist Nonpartisan League—also the subject of Northern Lights—his narrative accompanied by images shot by Nilsson’s own grandfather, Frithjof Holmboe. Rebel Earth finds Martinson, accompanied by a younger farmer, revisiting the scenes of his life, seeking out the spot of his Divide County homestead. Survivor, finished the year before Martinson’s death, focuses on the biography of its subject, found in a funny and expansive mood. A gorgeously-shot work of documentary-as-historical corrective, which finds hope for the future through excavating a radical past.

 

The Care Revolution

28 minute documentary on the organizing of home health care workers in Oregon.

Bob Bussel
Professor of History and Director
Labor Education and Research Center
University of Oregon
Eugene, OR  97403
541 346-2784
bussel@uoregon.edu

 

 

 
 

Support the Girls (2018)

Director: Andrew Bujalski
Writer: Andrew Bujalski
Stars: Regina Hall, Haley Lu Richardson, Dylan Gelula, Zoe Graham, Ann McCaskey
Rating: R
Running Time: 1h 30m
Genre: Comedy
The general manager at a highway-side ”sports bar with curves” has her incurable optimism and faith, in her girls, her customers, and herself, tested over the course of a long, strange day.

 

Invisible Hands

| Documentary | 23 November 2018 (USA)

Director:  Shraysi Tandon
Writers: Shraysi TandonChad Beck (co-writer)
Stars: Kailash SatyarthiBen SkinnerMark Barenberg 

Invisible Hands is the first feature documentary that exposes child labor and child trafficking within the supply chains of the world’s biggest corporations.

https://www.mvtimes.com/2018/08/22/invisible-hands-child-labor/

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2018 in Children, Documentary, Slavery