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Category Archives: Transportation

Boom and Bust: America’s Journey on the Erie Canal

Directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Paul Wagner and co-produced by Steve Zeitlin of CityLore and Erie Canal Museum Curator Daniel Ward, the film tells the story of industrial expansion and decline along the Erie Canal and examines its impact on the lives of workers in steel, grain, textiles and shipping. Wagner’s credits include The Stone Carvers and Windhorse. A meditation on economic cycles and the American Dream. The film surveys the macro-economics of industrial expansion and decline along the Erie Canal, and examines its impact on the lives of workers in steel, grain, textiles and shipping. In the wake of economic collapse, can the people of America’s cities find meaning and worth?

Paul Wagner, Charlottesville, VA:  pw@paulwagnerfilms.com

 

Open Eyes (2013)

Filmmaker: Martin Aletta

Argentina/Japan | 2013 | Fiction | 15 minutes

Tokyo. Ryo goes to his job at the railway company where he’s task is remove the remains of the railroad due to the numerous suicides. Saki, a young girl, wanders around her city contemplating an apathetic society. Her walk drives her to the platform of station where Ryo finds her…
2015 Brazilian International Labour Film Festival; http://www.bilff.org

 

Labour in a Single Shot

http://www.labour-in-a-single-shot.net

Starting in 2011 artist, curator, and author Antje Ehmann and filmmaker, video artist and author Harun Farocki initiated video production workshops in 15 cities around the world in which participants were to engage with the subject of ‘labour’: paid and unpaid, material and immaterial, traditional or new. The videos could not be longer than two minutes and they had to be taken in a single shot. The camera could be static, panning or travelling but cuts were not allowed. This concept references the Brother Lumière’s famous film Workers Leaving the Factory which was filmed in one continuous take from a fixed camera position.

The result of these workshops, which were organised together with local branches of the Goethe-Institut, are 400 films which show people engaged in all kinds of work, each film taking a different stance, literally and figuratively, towards its subject while also recording the diverse mental attitudes and bodily relation people have to their work.

Facing the challenge of filming something that might be essentially repetitive, continuous and boring, the films also foreground the work of the camera operator and his or her aesthetic decisions. In the multitude and diversity the films form a visual compendium and an archive of labour and cinema in the 21st century that is never boring or repetitive but enhances and simultaneously questions our perception and understanding of work.

All the films can be watched on a dedicated website, at random, or sorted by city, colour or type of work. A selection of 90 films was shown as an installation at the House of World Culture in Berlin from 27 February to 6 April 2015 with an accompanying conference. This exhibition also presented the project ‘Workers Leaving the Factory in 15 Cities’ (2011 – 2014), consisting of contemporary remakes of the famous film by the Lumière Brothers which were shot in 15 cities all over the world. Also included in the exhibition was the installation ‘Workers Leaving the Factory in Eleven Decades’ (2006), which showed scenes of workers leaving the factory throughout the history of cinema, from the Lumière Brothers (1895) to Lars van Trier’s Dancer in the Dark (2000).

The project is currently on view at the Venice Biennale, where it can be seen until 22 November 2015. Past presentations took place at the Boston Center for the Arts and the Sherman Gallery at Boston University between September and December 2014.

‘Labour in a Single Shot’ is a co-production of the Harun Farocki Filmproduktion with the Goethe-Institut.

www.harunfarocki.de

 

Teamsters-UPS Strike (1997)

1997 Teamsters strike against UPS, produced by Teamsters, 8 minutes

 

Strikes Threaten Industry (1946 strike wave)

Newsreel, 6 minutes
A wave of strikes occurred in 1946 after World War II ended and wartime wage-price controls began to erode. Here we see clips on labor disputes at Western Electric, Western Union, the auto industry, railroads, coal, ships, and trucking. The strike wave set the stage for passage of the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, which included injunctions for national emergency disputes.

 

Second Shift: From Crisis to Collaboration

Directed by Tom Lietz
1 hr, 37m
website: http://www.secondshiftfilm.com/

When GM prepared to pull out of Lansing, a team of government, business, labor and other community leaders convinced the auto giant to invest over a billion dollars instead. This documentary tells the story of successful regional collaboration to create the “second shift” for a community in crisis. 

 

The Forgotten Space

112 mins; 2010
By Allan Sekula and Noël Burch
Film website

Investigates global maritime trade, highlighting displaced farmers and villagers in Holland, underpaid truck drivers in Los Angeles and Filipino maids in China. Sekula and Burch offer a sobering portrait of workers’ conditions, the inhuman scale of sea trade and the secret lives of port cities.

 

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