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Category Archives: Discrimination: Racism, Sexism, etc

Champ of the Camp (2013)

Director: Mahmoud Kaabour
75 min | Documentary, Music |
With unprecedented access, this creative documentary paints a complete portrait of life in Dubai’s labor camps, told entirely in the voices of the laborers as we follow their participation in a huge Bollywood singing competition
http://www.champofthecampmovie.com/

 

Sherpa (2015)

96 min  |  Documentary  |  2 October 2015 (USA)

Director/writer: Jennifer Peedom

A fight on Everest? It seemed incredible. But in 2013 news channels around the world reported an ugly brawl at 21,000ft as European climbers fled a mob of angry Sherpas. In 1953, New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay had reached the summit in a spirit of co-operation and brave optimism. Now climbers and Sherpas were trading insults – even blows. What had happened to the happy, smiling Sherpas and their dedication in getting foreigners to the top of the mountain they hold so sacred? Determined to explore what was going on, the filmmakers set out to make a film of the 2014 Everest climbing season, from the Sherpas’ point of view. Instead, they captured a tragedy that would change Everest forever. At 6.45am on 18th April, 2014, a 14 million ton block of ice crashed down onto the climbing route through the Khumbu Icefall, killing 16 Sherpas. It was the worst tragedy in the history of Everest. The disaster provoked a drastic reappraisal about the role of the Sherpas in the Everest industry. SHERPA, tells the story of how, in the face of fierce opposition, the Sherpas united in grief and anger to reclaim the mountain they call Chomolungma.

‘Sherpa’ Delves Into a Risky Profession The documentary makers, who were at Mount Everest when 16 sherpas died in an ice avalanche in 2014, explore the tensions between these guides and their wealthy clients.

 

Elf (2015)

Filmmaker: Ting-Ging YU

Taiwan | 2015 | Fiction | 18 minutes

Yen is an albino. She struggled through study and became a teacher. Hao-hao wrote to Yen and told her that he finally got a job. Ah-chih suffers from physical handicaps and creates great paintings. The director compares those who suffer from physical handicaps but being hard-working like angels sent by God.

 

Love and Solidarity–The Story of Rev. James Lawson (2015)

Michael Honey’s film with Errol Webber

In 1960, Reverend James Lawson helped to launch the Nashville sit-in campaign which successfully desegregated the Woolworth’s lunch counter, and inspired a new generation of student civil rights activities throughout the South. After Nashville he pastored the largest African American Methodist Church in Memphis and continued to work closely with Martin Luther King, Jr. in Birmingham and on other civil rights campaigns, teaching workshops in nonviolence. At each stage of his life, Lawson has supported campaigns for labor rights as a dimension of human rights.

Next to King himself, Reverend Lawson remains one of the most important social justice leaders of our time. This project set out to examine the legacy of Reverend Lawson, particularly his nonviolent approach to labor and civil rights, and to help share his story. The Love & Solidarity project did just that when it premiered a film by the same name that chronicles Lawson’s life and work as a force for positive change. In addition the Love & Solidarity project, led by Dr. Michael Honey, has launched the Love & Solidarity website to help share this story of how ordinary people can use nonviolence to make a more peaceful and just world.

This is a project of the Fetzer Advisory Council on Labor, Trades, and Crafts.

Michael Honey, Fred and Dorothy Haley Professor of Humanities
1900 Commerce St. Tacoma, WA  98402
253-692-4454
michaelkhoney@gmail.com
mhoney@uw.edu
University of Washington, Tacoma
http://faculty.washington.edu/mhoney/

 

Suffragette (2015)

PG-13 | 106 min | Drama, History | 12 October 2015 (UK)

The foot soldiers of the early feminist movement, women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal State.

Director: Sarah Gavron
Writer: Abi Morgan
Stars: Carey Mulligan, Anne-Marie Duff, Helena Bonham Carter | See full cast and crew »

NYT review: Movies about the injustices of the past — and about the struggles to overcome them — are frequently prisoners of their own good intentions. Too often, attempts to illuminate the dark parts of history cast a complacent, flattering light on the present and turn history into a morality play or a horror show. The audience is invited to look back at how terrible things used to be and reflect on how much better they are now. The note of hard-won triumph that comes in the final scenes has the effect of tying up loose ends and suppressing uncomfortable continuities.

The film pointedly tells an unfinished story, one that ends on a bittersweet, equivocal note. It takes place in 1912, at an important moment in the British suffragist movement and very much in the middle of the long journey toward equality. Agitation for the vote had been going on for decades, and the franchise would not be extended fully to women until 1928. In “Suffragette,” demonstrators fill the streets of London and militants carry out acts of vandalism, smashing windows and blowing up mailboxes. The chancellor of the Exchequer, David Lloyd George, holds hearings on a parliamentary amendment. The cause of voting rights is embodied by Emmeline Pankhurst, who is seen in newspaper photographs and briefly seen in the person of Meryl Streep.

Ms. Streep is on hand more to supply a benediction than to play a fully dramatic role. One of the ways “Suffragette” escapes the traps of its genre is to focus not on the leadership but on the rank and file, on an ordinary woman whose life is changed by political engagement. Her name is Maud Watts, and she’s played by Carey Mulligan with somber determination and inspiring pluck. Maud works in an industrial laundry, alongside her husband, Sonny (Ben Whishaw), and scores of women for whom dangerous labor, low pay and sexual harassment are matters of daily routine. Maud accepts her lot, finding happiness with Sonny and their young son, George. She is caught up in suffragist activities almost by accident, out of curiosity and loyalty to a co-worker (Anne-Marie Duff). Before long she is attending clandestine meetings in the back room of a pharmacy run by Edith Ellyn (Helena Bonham Carter).

“Suffragette” unfolds partly as an Edwardian thriller, with a Special Branch detective (Brendan Gleeson) chasing after the militants as they plot their actions. It also has a strain of melodrama, as Maud is forced to make terrible sacrifices for the cause. What joins these narrative strands is the feminist insight that the subjugation of women extends from the highest reaches of government through the workplace and into the domestic sphere. They have no voice in Parliament, on the factory floor or at home, and while nobody — least of all Maud — supposes that the vote will solve everything, it will at least be a start.

This does not mean that the film depicts all men as monsters, though Maud’s supervisor (Geoff Bell) is a fine portrait of male depravity. But “Suffragette” also avoids the all-too-common tactics of placing a sympathetic member of the oppressor class at the center of the drama or making it all about the awakening of a man’s conscience. Instead, it shows the limits of solidarity even when the sympathetic ties of family or class are involved. It also underlines the viciousness with which power reacts when it is challenged.

“Suffragette” is an admirably modest movie. It does not quite have the grandeur and force of “Selma,” and the script has a few too many glowingly emotive speeches. The final turns of the tale are suspenseful, but also a bit frantic. But it is also stirring and cleareyed — the best kind of history lesson.
New York Times

 

The Song of the Shirt (1979)

song-of-the-shirt

16mm, 135 min, black & white
Directors Sue Clayton
Jonathan Curling
Production Company Film & History Project
BFI Production Board
Script Sue Clayton
Jonathan Curling
Music Lindsay Cooper

Cast: Martha Gibson, Geraldine Pilgrim, Anna McNiff, Liz Myers, Jill Greenhalgh, Sally Cranfield, Alfred Molina

Show full cast and credits

An investigation into the position of working women in the 1840s, the effects of protectionist ‘philanthropy’ and the resistance to it. Explores the plight of a group of women working in the new ‘sweated’ clothes trade in London.

Show full synopsis

Originally intended as a history of the welfare state, as well as a contribution to debates on feminist history, issues of free trade against philanthropy and capitalist expansion against protectionism, The Song of the Shirt became a subject of debate in itself, not least thanks to its four-year gestation.Many different groups, including Women’s Aid and the Feminist History Project, were involved during this long production period, and as a result the final film had a broader agenda (and therefore audience) than was originally planned. While it still addresses ideas of feminist history and Marxist theory, it can also be read as a rather more ambitious project that fuses the history of fashion, literacy and sexuality.

It is constructed as a documentary, although the use of multiple-screen effects, monitors displaying text and projected backdrops constantly disrupts the flow of information. Few dates are revealed in the film, forcing us to address the arguments rather than the chronology. It moves back and forth between locations and eras, juxtaposed in such a way as to highlight the contradictions in the labour market. Close-ups of women and characters in the dramatised scenes are avoided, and in the tribunal sequence the figure-of-eight camera movements suggest aimlessness.

The women’s readings, both singly and in groups, are based on a story that appeared in the magazine Notes to the People. ‘A Page for the Ladies’ argues that all classes of women are oppressed. Women of different classes read the text in different ways, with other voices of workers and political writers given equal footing with the text.

The Song of the Shirt‘s combination of relentless political content and a dislocated and disruptive presentation makes it stand out from its contemporaries in its ambition to present a genuinely feminist independent film. Co-director Sue Clayton, a graduate of the Royal College of Art, has continued to explore these themes through her work with the Independent Filmmakers’ Association and Screen magazine.

Emma Hedditch
http://www.screenonline.org.uk/film/id/496441/

 

 

 

The Southeast of Ankara

2013
Documentary
Director: Yonetmen
22 Minutes

The families of those immigrated for various reasons live in the four edge districts of Ankara which are located in the boundaries of Çankaya. The families who have lived for years in this region are exposed to an enforced immigration for urban transformation. The movie expresses the urban transformation and immigration subjects through the viewpoint of the children of those families.

 

Eat Sleep Die

2012
Directed by Gabriela Pichler
Sweden
104 mins

Nermina Lukac’s electrifying performance as Raša is the heart of director Gabriela Pichler’s feature debut. A Montenegrin-born young woman living in rural Sweden, Raša is laid off from her job at a food-packing plant. Her ensuing job search pulls us through the maze of limited prospects and frustrating bureaucracy facing the country’s working immigrant population. Affable, resilient, street smart and soft-hearted, Raša’s natural magnetism draws us in completely. We feel every ounce of her disappointment, fear and elation as she soldiers on, looking for work. An Audience Award winner at the Venice Film Festival, EAT SLEEP DIE’s assured naturalism and political conviction single out Pichler as a bold, exciting new cinematic voice. Her film is a positive rallying cry for low-wage workers who dream of a life that won’t merely add up to the three verbs that form the film’s title.
– Mike Dougherty, American Film Institute 

 

Jai Bhim Comrade: Blast From The Caste

Director – Anand Patwardhan (180 min) 2012

The recent election in India of a rightwing reactionary government and the collapse of the Congress Party again exposes the basic contradictions within India. The lowest caste, the Dalit or “untouchables,” for thousands of years, was denied education and treated as bonded labour. By 1923 Bhimrao Ambedkar broke the taboo, won doctorates abroad and fought for the emancipation of his people. He helped draft India’s Constitution and led his followers to discard Hinduism for Buddhism. His legend still spreads through poetry and song.

In 1997, a Dalit protest erupted in a Mumbai slum after a statue of B.R. Ambedkar was desecrated. Ambedkar (1891-1956) was a reformist who agitated to end the caste system, helped Gandhi write the Indian constitution and amassed a large following among the Dalit. At the protest, 10 unarmed people were killed when police opened fire. Singer, poet and activist Vilas Ghogre later committed suicide to protest the killings.

Shot over 14 years, this three hour film is jam-packed with information. The film covers the biographies of both Ghogre and Ambedkar as well as Indian politics and the day-to-day lives of the Dalit who are still struggling for freedom and justice in India.

 

 

All Points North

Documentary (Athens/ London 2013, 25 minutes)
Producer: BlueArts Film, Mizgin Müjde Arslan, Dir: Therese Koppe
Original Language: French, with English subtitles.
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“It certainly will be a different Europe, not like here in Greece”, states Laurent in an assuring voice. The dream of heading North is the driving motivation for Laurent and Ibrahim, two young men leaving their country of Senegal in search of a better life.As undocumented migrants, they find themselves trapped in Greece, bound to the Greek borders by the lack of immigration papers. Before leaving their homeland their impressions of Europe were very different from the harsh realities they faced once arriving. For migrants such as Laurent and Ibrahim, there is no stability in a better, safer land; their journeys to find such are continually ongoing.