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Category Archives: Themes

PETERLOO

Internationally acclaimed and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Mike Leigh portrays one of the bloodiest episodes in British history, the infamous Peterloo Massacre of 1819, where government-backed cavalry charged into a peaceful crowd of 80,000 that gathered in Manchester, England to demand democratic reform.

The film Peterloo will mark the 200th anniversary of the notorious Peterloo Massacre.

On 16 August 1819, a crowd of some 60,000 people from Manchester and surrounding towns gathered in St Peter’s Fields to demand Parliamentary reform and an extension of voting rights. The meeting had been peaceful but in the attempt to arrest a leader of the meeting, the armed government militias panicked and charged upon the crowd. The toll of casualties has always been disputed, but as many as 15 people were killed and up to 700 wounded. The immediate effect of the massacre was a crackdown on reform, as the authorities feared the country was heading towards armed rebellion. However, the outcry led to the founding of the Manchester Guardian and played a significant role in the passage through Parliament of the Great Reform Act 13 years later.
The end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 had resulted in periods of famine and chronic unemployment, exacerbated by the introduction of the first of the Corn Laws. By the beginning of 1819, the pressure generated by poor economic conditions, coupled with the relative lack of suffrage in Northern England, had enhanced the appeal of political radicalism. In response, the Manchester Patriotic Union, a group agitating for parliamentary reform, organised a demonstration to be addressed by the well-known radical orator Henry Hunt.

 

ABC da Greve (The “ABC” of the Strike)

A film by Brazilian director Leon Hirszman called ABC da Greve [The “ABC” of the Strike, a pun on São Paulo’s ABC region, where the strike began], about the Brazilian metalworkers strike of 1979.

Lula, The Rhetoric of the Image, Past and Present

 

They Don’t Wear Black Tie (1981) Eles Não Usam Black-Tie

2h | Drama | 18 April 1982 (USA)

Brazilian drama film directed by Leon Hirszman, based on Gianfrancesco Guarnieri’s play of the same name. Union leader’s son doesn’t want to engage in a strike, because his wife is pregnant, thus disregarding his father’s tradition of political activism. The film revolves around a working-class family in São Paulo in 1980. Otávio, a syndicalist leader, and Romana are the parents of Tião, whose girlfriend, Maria, becomes pregnant. Fearing to be fired and thus unable to support his now fiancée, Tião does not participate on a strike, which starts a series of family conflicts.

Full film here

 

Brothers under the skin (1989)

Based on the book: The Hilo Massacre by William Puette.
Originally aired on KHET, Channel 11 (Honolulu) on Aug. 24, 1989.
Credits: Senior producer, Chris Conybeare ; writer, Tremaine Tamayose ; directors, Joy Chong, Tremaine Tamayose.
Description: 1 videocassette (60 min.) : sound, color ; 1/2 in.
Details: VHS.

Dramatization of events surrounding the Aug. 1, 1938 “Hilo Massacre,” when a group of 51 longshoremen on strike against a steamship company were fired upon by police.

Stevedores — Labor unions — Hawaii — Hilo — History — 20th century — Drama.
Labor disputes — Hawaii — Drama.
Massacres — Hawaii — Hilo — History — 20th century — Drama.

 

Brothers Under the Skin (1912)

DramaShort | 2 October 1912 (USA)

Jack Adams, spokesman for workmen in a factory, pleads with the owner, Griscom, against a twenty percent cut in wages. Griscom refuses to consider the men’s side, so the men walk out. Jack, seeking work at another factory, is “black-listed.” He leaves in an ugly mood. Unable to find work anywhere, he is reduced to starvation. His wife needs a doctor. Jack sends a note to Griscom pleading to be taken back. Griscom answers, “Glad to see you so humble, but you can’t work for me.” Jack, irate, determines on vengeance. Outside Griscom’s mansion Jack is overcome by weakness. Elsie, Griscom’s favorite child, finds Jack, and has him taken into the house. Griscom comes in, suspects Jack’s intentions, and accuses him. Jack tells of his terrible suffering. Elsie tries to console him. Jack is overcome. Griscom relents and offers food. Jack refuses. Elsie puts her arms around Jack, and he accepts the food. The touching scene penetrates the armor of Griscom’s selfishness, and he offers his hand to Jack, who accepts it.

 

The St. Louis Kid (1934)

Director: Ray Enright
Writers: Warren Duff (screen play), Seton I. Miller (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Stars: James Cagney, Patricia Ellis, Allen Jenkins

Drama directed by Ray Enright and starring James Cagney as a truck driver who gets mixed up in a union dispute after a union leader is killed and his girlfriend is kidnapped after witnessing the crime.

Trucker Eddie Kennedy gets involved with the law when he has an car accident with Ann Reid and knocks the owner of a dairy out. He evades a penalty when he claims, that he had done it as an act of solidarity with the farmers. The farmers start an boycott action against this dairy, so the owner has to bring milk from elsewhere to his dairy, but the farmers closed the road, and Kennedy is arrested once more. He leaves jail at night to meet Ann, but meanwhile the owner has asked some mobsters to deliver the milk. One of the farmers is murdered, Ann Reid is missing and Eddie Kennedy is accused of murder.

 

Great Guy (1936)

1936 crime film starring James Cagney and Mae Clarke. In the film, an honest inspector for the New York Department of Weights and Measures takes on corrupt merchants and politicians.

Directed by John G. Blystone
Written by James Edward Grant (story)
Screenplay by Henry McCarty
Starring James Cagney
Mae Clarke
Release date: December 1936
Running time: 75 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Full film here

 

 

163 DAYS (163 DÍAS. LA HUELGA DE BANDAS)

Larraitz Zuazo
Spain | 2017 | Documentary | 68 minutes
In 1966, 800 workers from the Biscayan company ‘Laminación de Bandas en Frio’ carried out the longest strike of Franco’s dictatorship. In a tumultuous historic moment within the framework of growing organisation of the working class and anti­Franco sentiments, hundreds of residents of Etxebarri, Basauri and Otxarkoaga launched a political struggle that would end up being an example for the entire labor movement that would follow. Through the main characters and their stories, anecdotes and experiences, we create an image of the 163 days of strike that made the dictatorship’s foundations shake.

 

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.