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Category Archives: Global Economy

Nightcaller

Director: Alexander Humilde
2018; 6m

“In the urban jungle of Manila, the call centre capital of the world, anonymous call centre agents from Manila spill the beans on the Philippines’ most in-demand job. Their stories reveal prevalent truths about the effects of rapid westernization, all of which take place just on the other side of our phone calls.”

Alexander Humilde’s Nightcaller documentary debuts on Air Canada flights

 

System Error

2018 ‧ Documentary ‧ 1h 36m

“System Error” seeks answers to the great contradictions of our time and makes it clear why, despite everything, everything continues as before. The film shows the world from the perspective of people fascinated by the possibilities of capitalism. Whether European financial strategists, American hedge fund managers or Brazilian meat producers: They cannot, must not or do not even want to imagine a world without an expanding economy.

A humorous personal and essay film addressing architecture, habitation, space, density, xenophobia, gentrification and urban development. A power struggle between mountain peasants who have been raising milk cows on common land and a village bailiff trying to gain power driving them off the land.

Initial release: May 10, 2018 (Germany)
Director: Florian Opitz
Screenplay: Florian Opitz
Cinematography: Andy Lehmann
Producers: Florian Opitz, Jan Krüger

WEBSITE

livia@icarusfilms.com
718-488-8900

 

Made in Bangladesh

2019 ‧ Drama ‧ 1h 30m

Made in Bangladesh is a 2019 Bangladeshi drama film directed by Rubaiyat Hossain. It was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.

Initial release: September 6, 2019
Director: Rubaiyat Hossain
Language: Bengali language

‘Made in Bangladesh’: Film Review | TIFF 2019

Notes by Steve Cook, President, Washington Baltimore News Guild; cookstevend@gmail.com
Tells the story of a garment worker who decides to organize her coworkers into a union after a fire kills her best friend. The young woman, Shimu, has to overcome skepticism from her coworkers, resistance from her husband, double-crossing from a coworker, pressure from her bosses, bureaucratic inertia from the government, and a host of obstacles like we all face.
I want everyone in my shop and other open shops to see this movie. It really lays out what we all face in organizing, but the stakes are clear as day in a way that it often is difficult to communicate to our units. It would be great if it were available in DVDs, so locals could show it, or people could share it in their homes, or pass it around.
The film also highlights the universal struggles unions face anywhere in the world. The things I described above are things we face in our own organizing efforts. I also took away a message of solidarity with working people regardless of their nationality, geographic location, gender, or ethnicity. Their struggle is our struggle. These are messages that people must hear again and again. Cameron Bailey, the TIFF artistic director called Shimu, “the Norma Rae we need now.”
This movie has distribution in France starting Dec. 5 though an outfit called Pyramide International, which TIFF lists as the international sale agent. As far as I know, no one has picked it up in North America. I think it would be ideal for the DC Labor Filmfest, but also would be great if it could get exposure in North America in the meantime. If you have connections in the distribution industry, perhaps you could spread awareness of the movie among them.
The contact information for Pyramide in the TIFF book are sales@pyramidefilms.com, and 0033142960220.
I also am including some links that give you a fuller idea of what Made in Bangladesh is about. I hope I’ve given enough description of how important I think this movie is. Please feel free to contact me for a fuller description or for any way that I may be able to help.
Steve Cook, President, Washington Baltimore News Guild; cookstevend@gmail.com

https://www.tiff.net/events/made-in-bangladesh

Q&A following the TIFF screening.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPNS4XEoZRU

Pyramide International
http://inter.pyramidefilms.com/pyramidefilms-international-catalogue/made-in-bangladesh.html

 

The Big Short (2015)

| | BiographyComedyDrama | 23 December 2015 (USA)

In 2006-7 a group of investors bet against the US mortgage market. In their research they discover how flawed and corrupt the market is.

Director: Adam McKay 
Writers: Charles Randolph (screenplay by), Adam McKay (screenplay by)
Stars: Christian BaleSteve CarellRyan Gosling

 

 

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

 

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.