Category Archives: Arts/Culture

Never Turning Back: The World of Peggy Lipschutz (2007)

30m; U.S.

Director: Jerri Zbiral

Synopsis: Celebrates the life and work of 90 year old artist and activist Peggy Lipschutz, who pioneered the “chalk-talk”— a performance art form combining drawing and music before a live audience. This film explores Peggy’s unwavering commitment to art, peace, justice and social change.



One of the Hollywood Ten (2000)

109m; Spain

Director: Karl Francis

Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Greta Scacchi and Ángela Molina

Synopsis (Wikipedia): The film opens at the 1937 Academy Awards, where Biberman’s wife, Gale Sondergaard (Greta Scacchi), wins the first ever “Best Supporting Actress” Oscar. Although the anti-Fascist sentiment in her acceptance speech gets her labeled a “commie” by some observers, she and Biberman (Jeff Goldblum) are placed under contract at Warner Bros. He first comes under scrutiny more for his Jewish background than his political activities. Yet, with Cold War paranoia growing, a group of Hollywood directors and actors — Biberman, Sondergaard, Danny Kaye, and Dalton Trumbo among them—are labeled Communists and questioned before Congress. After refusing to testify against his colleagues, he is imprisoned in the Federal Correctional Institution at Texarkana for a period of six months. Once released, he discovers his Hollywood career is finished.

Sondergaard suggests her husband direct a screenplay about the real-life 1950-51 strike waged by Mexican-American miners against the Empire Zinc Company in Bayard, New Mexico written by Michael Wilson, also a victim of the blacklist, and Biberman’s brother Michael. She feels the lead role of Esperanza Quintero, who rallied the wives of the unemployed miners and urged them to support their husbands, is an ideal way to jump-start her stagnating career. Biberman agrees, but after meeting with the people who participated in the strike and being inspired by their passion, he decides all roles should be played by ethnic actors. Because the film has no studio backing and most Hollywood players fear being associated with Biberman and the project, he eventually casts local residents from Grant County, New Mexico and members of the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers, Local 890 to fill most of the roles. Juan Chacón, the Union Local president, is cast as the fiery Ramon Quintero opposite Mexican actress Rosaura Revueltas as his wife Esperanza. Will Geer is one of only five Hollywood actors to accept a role in the production.

The FBI investigates the film’s financing, attempts to steal the film’s negatives, tells film-processing labs not to work on the film when they are unable to locate them, incites locals who are unhappy with the film crew’s presence to set fire to many of the sets, and eventually deports Revueltas on bogus charges. Biberman stands his ground and completes the film, using scenes with Revueltas that were shot in her native Mexico and then smuggled into the US.

Contact: Director Karl Francis: Jeff Goldblum’s agent: Keith Addi,


Only A Bookseller (2009)

60m; U.K.

Director: Chris Reeves

Synopsis: The story of Jack Firestein, a bookseller, an champion of the labor movement throughout his lifetime: as co-founder of London Socialist Film Co-op, member of the Communist Party, Camden Labour Party, and his union.


Out of This Furnace: A Walking Tour of Thomas Bell’s Novel (1990)

20m; U.S.

Synopsis: Beautifully realized film by Steffi Domike and narrated by Dave Demarest provides a synopsis of Thomas Bell’s great novel as well as a walking tour of a Braddock that is disappearing before our eyes.


Pete Seeger: The Power of Song (2007)

93m; U.S.

Director: Jim Brown

Synopsis: This engaging documentary traces the life of folk icon Pete Seeger, emphasizing his lifelong belief in the power of music as both a social and a political force. Director Brown utilizes contemporary footage of Seeger and his wife,Toshi, along with newly remastered recordings of Seeger¹s songs, and interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and others. – Rochester Labor Film Series


Painting Red Square (2009)

5m; Canada
Director: Max Fraser
Available online

7000 km from Moscow, there’s another Red Square….Witness the struggle of the labour-left in Whitehorse to find a friendly watering hole where they can share a glass with their comrades and debate which shade of red is best. Paint, popcorn and a little beer get spilled along the way.

DVD with extra chapters: 20 mins

Featuring: Del Young and the gang at Red Square.

GENRE: Humour
Tags: Beer, Whitehorse, High Country Inn, TGIF, Paint, Red Square, Labour, Left, Canadian North

Max Fraser website



Perfumed Nightmare (1977)

93m; Philippines

Director: Kidlat Tahimik 

Cast: Kidlat Tahimik, Mang Fely and Dolores Santamaria

Synopsis: This brilliant semi-autobiographical fable tells the story of a young Filipino born in 1942 (during the Occupation), his awakening to, and reaction against, American cultural colonialism. In his small village, Kidlat dreams of Cape Canaveral and listens to the Voice of America; he’s even the president of his village’s Werner Von Braun fan club. –


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Posted by on April 20, 2012 in Arts/Culture, Drama


Pleasure For The People

90m; France

Director: Jean-Pierre Thorn

Synopsis: Tells the story through hip-hop and music of the immigrant Morrocan and African youth in France and the racism that they face.


The Miners’ Hymns (2011)


Director: Bill Morrison

Synopsis (REDCAT): Since The Film of Her (1996), award-winning filmmaker Bill Morrison has completed more than 20 experimental pieces in which he poetically and rhythmically reworks archival footage in various stages of preservation or decomposition. With The Miners’ Hymns, he teams up with Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson to celebrate the culture and political struggles of the Durham collieries in northeastern England. Weaving together stunning black-and-white footage from the early 1900s through the massive 1984 strikes, the film montages different aspects of the miners’ lives—the hardship of pit work, the role of the trade unions, the tradition of the colliery brass bands and the annual Miners’ Gala in Durham.




La Belle Equipe (1936)

101m; France

Director: Julien Duvivier

Synopsis: Five unemployed workers unsuccessfully attempt to pool resources to get a music hall running.