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Category Archives: Technology

Buzzard (2014)

97 min | Comedy, Drama | 6 March 2015 (USA)
Director/writer: Joel Potrykus
Stars: Joshua Burge, Joel Potrykus, Teri Ann Nelson

Marty is a caustic, small-time con artist drifting from one scam to the next. When his latest ruse goes awry, mounting paranoia forces him from his lousy small town temp job to the desolate streets of Detroit with nothing more than a pocket full of bogus checks, a dangerously altered Nintendo® Power Glove, and a bad temper. Albert Camus meets Freddy Krueger in BUZZARD, a hellish and hilarious riff on the struggles of the American working class.

NYTimes: Review: In ‘Buzzard,’ an Angry, Unkempt Antihero
An unsparing portrait of an office temp and scam artist near the bottom of the economic food chain.
NYTimes: Joel Potrykus’s Film ‘Buzzard’ Is Inspired by Dead-End Jobs
The writer and director’s deadpan comedies have followed a man-child on the skids.

 

Sunder Nagri (Beautiful City) (2003)

Director: Rahul Roy
English (subtitled), 78 min, 2003, India
http://magiclanternmovies.in/film/city-beautiful

Sunder Nagri (Beautiful City) is a small working class colony on the margins of India’s capital city, Delhi. Most families residing here come from a community of weavers. The last ten years have seen a gradual disintegration of the handloom tradition of this community under the globalisation regime. The families have to cope with change as well as reinvent themselves to eke out a living.

Radha and Bal Krishan are at a critical point in their relationship. Bal Krishan is underemployed and constantly cheated. They are in disagreement about Radha going out to work. However, through all their ups and downs they retain the ability to laugh.Shakuntla and Hira Lal hardly communicate. They live under one roof with their children but are locked in their own sense of personal tragedies.

Producer: Rahul Roy
Creative Crew
Camera: Rahul Roy
Editing: Reena Mohan
Sound: Asheesh Pandya

Rahul is a noted documentary filmmaker who has widely worked on the issues of labor and gender in India. His film The City Beautiful masterfully depicts the life of two families in an Indian working-class colony, focussing on the decline of traditional handloom industry because of globalization. His recent work The Factory (2015) is about the struggle of Maruti automobile workers in New Delhi. For more than two years, 147 workers from the Maruti Suzuki plant were kept behind bars without bail or any charge sheet being presented to the defence counsel. Rahul has followed their crisis and struggle from 2013 to 2015. Read more about the film in this Indian Express piece.

Director contact info: rahulroy63@gmail.com

 

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

 

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).

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

www.harunfarocki.de

 

Pioneer (2013)

Norway–just optioned for US remake by Clooney.  North Sea oil rig deep sea divers, workplace injury law suit.Pioneer

A thriller set at the beginning of the 1980’s Norwegian Oil Boom and centered on a diver whose obsession with reaching the bottom of the Norwegian Sea leads to tragedy.

PIONEER is set in the early 1980s, at the beginning of the Norwegian Oil Boom when enormous oil and gas deposits were discovered in the North Sea. Authorities aim to bring the oil ashore and Petter, a professional diver, has the discipline, strength and courage to take on the world’s most dangerous mission. But a sudden, tragic accident changes everything. Petter is sent on a perilous journey and gradually, he realizes that he is in way over his head and that his life is at stake.

 

Fly to Transcend

Documentary
China
Director: Tu Qiao
90 Minutes

This is a story about Tian Yu, one of the survivors of the shocking “13 jump” suicides at Foxconn, the primary manufacturer of Apple products. The documentary reflects on the background and deeper causes of the tragedy from the perspectives of international relations, globalization, Chinese local government, and internal enterprise management, and with academic experts as well as media. After three years of silence Tian Yu finally spoke up to tell us the truth. Tian Yu today is an outstanding woman who is passionate about life, independent, and eager to help others. She has not only found love, but also hopes to be able to raise her kids like any normal person.

 

 

Men of the Cloth

2013
Documentary
Director: Vicki Vasilopoulos
96 Minutes

Men of the Cloth is an inspiring portrait of Nino Corvato, Checchino Fonticoli and Joe Centofanti, three Italian master tailors who confront the decline of the apprentice system as they navigate their challenging roles in the twilight of their career. The film unravels the mystery of their artistry and reveals how their passionate devotion to their Old World craft is akin to a religion.
–Written by Vicki Vasilopoulos

 

 

Factory Boss (“Da gong lao ban”)

2014
101m
China
Directed by Zhang Wei
With: Yao Anlian, Tang Yan, Zhao Ju, Huang Jingyi, Gao Xueqin, Yun Mengjie; Chen Liang. (Mandarin dialogue)

The title figure in “Factory Boss” is one who normally garners little sympathy, particularly in the West, where cheap Chinese labor has undercut local production. Yet helmer Zhang Wei and thesp Yao Anlian create a complex character virtually impossible not to identify with, at least partially: Caught between a rock and a hard place — the paper-thin profit margins offered by Western conglomerates vs. rising worker demands at home — he inevitably winds up treating everyone unfairly, including himself. For growing ranks of China watchers, “Factory Boss” offers an engrossing expose of the built-in impasses of global economics from an unexplored perspective.
Ronnie Scheib, Variety
http://variety.com/2014/film/reviews/film-review-factory-boss-1201300789/

 

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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