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Category Archives: Working Class

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.

 

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

 

The Acting Class

Stars Christopher Eccleston, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Maxine Peake and Samuel West talking about the barriers to success and how acting in the UK has become dominated by the posh. it’s about working-class actors struggling to get on.

It is by telling stories that a society talks to itself, finds out about itself and engages with the rest of the world. What kind of stories do we tell if only 10% of actors come from working class backgrounds?

https://theactingclass.info/

Director: Mike Wayne
1insidefilm@gmail.com

 

 

The Issue of Mr. O’Dell

Documentary about the life and work of Jack O’Dell, veteran African-American civil rights activist.

Directed and produced by Rami Katz

New Film Reveals Life of Civil Rights Activist Jack O’Dell

Awards:
President’s Award, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival ’18
Best International Short: Baltimore International Black Film Festival ’18
Honourable Mention, Documentary Short: Roxbury International Film Festival ’18

Festivals:
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival ’18
Freep Film Festival ’18
DOXA Documentary Film Festival ’18
Roxbury International Film Festival ’18
Rhode Island International Film Festival ’18
Montreal International Black Film Festival ’18
Baltimore International Black Film Festival ’18
St. Louis International Film Festival ’18
North Carolina Black Film Festival ’18

Educational Distributor (US): Cinema Guild
store.cinemaguild.com/nontheatrical/product/2581.html

“[A] personal and humanizing portrait” – Pat Mullen, POV Magazine
povmagazine.com/articles/view/review-the-issue-of-mr.-odell

“As a viewer, I was left wanting more.” – Esther Sun, Discorder Magazine
citr.ca/discorder/may-2018/doxa-2018-the-issue-of-mr-odell/

“O’Dell shares his insightful outlook on past and present race relations in the United States, augmented beautifully with the stark and poignant imagery” – Danielle Piper, The Georgia Straight
straight.com/movies/1069136/doxa-2018-review-issue-mr-odell

“Filmmaker Rami Katz combines archival material with beautifully shot footage of O’Dell in conversation to weave the story of a man who has fought his whole life for justice.” – Ljudmila Petrovic, Sad Mag
sadmag.ca/blog/2018/4/24/preview-belinda-and-the-issue-of-mr-odell-at-doxa

Facebook page: facebook.com/theissueofmrodell

Website: ramihkatz.com/theissueofmrodell

 

Support the Girls (2018)

Director: Andrew Bujalski
Writer: Andrew Bujalski
Stars: Regina Hall, Haley Lu Richardson, Dylan Gelula, Zoe Graham, Ann McCaskey
Rating: R
Running Time: 1h 30m
Genre: Comedy
The general manager at a highway-side ”sports bar with curves” has her incurable optimism and faith, in her girls, her customers, and herself, tested over the course of a long, strange day.

 

From Cable Street to Brick Lane (2012)

A non-linear tribute to successive generations of immigrants and trade unionists in London’s East End, and their triumph over prejudice and intolerance.

Archive footage brings to life the 1936 Battle of Cable Street when Irish dockers ran to the aid of Jews, socialists, anarchists and communists whose protest against a march by the British Union of Fascists provoked an attack by the police. Interviewees – including artist Bob & Roberta Smith and writer Rachel Lichtenstein – recall the subsequent struggles of anti-fascists against racial and homophobic violence in the 1970s and 1990s, depicting a vibrant but disparate community united against hate.

 

Union Leader

Releasing January 19, 2018 | directed by Sanjay Patel
Starring Rahul Bhat, Tillotama Shome

In a country where the voice of the powerless is often suppressed, it’s time to explore the pain of labour.

A 2017 production of Dim Lights Pictures, Inc and Platoon One Films.

“It portrays workers at a (I think) chromium sulfate plant, in India, union-represented, who are dying of cancer.  One guy decides change is needed.  He organizes his co-workers, with all the ebbs and flows that happen when you do that – threats, fights, people step up and then back down, he’s beaten up.  He pisses blood.  He goes to a labor inspector who seems great – and then gets paid off by the boss.  The boss tries to pay our hero off.  There is a vote and the new union of the real workers is voted in and our hero becomes the leader. It reminds me of ‘Christ in Concrete,’ but it has a happy ending. ”
– Ann Hoffman

 

IN THE AISLES (IN DEN GÄNGEN)

Germany, 2018, 125 min., Director: Thomas Stuber, Screenplay: Clemens Meyer, Thomas Stuber, Cast: Sandra Hüller, Franz Rogowski, Peter Kurth, Distribution: MusicBox Films

After the shy and reclusive Christian loses his job, he finds work at a wholesale market. Bruno from the beverage aisle takes him under his wing and quickly becomes a fatherly friend to him. He shows him the ropes and patiently teaches him how to operate the fork lift. Among the aisles of the store, Christian meets “Sweets”-Marion. He is instantly smitten by her enigmatic charm. The coffee machine becomes their regular meeting point, and the two start getting to know each other. But Marion is married, and Christian’s feelings for her seem to remain unrequited. Christian slowly becomes a member of the wholesale market family, and his days of driving fork lifts and stacking shelves mean much more to him than meets the eye—especially when Marion does not return to work one day.

German Film Guild Award & Ecumenical Jury Award Berlin 2018
German Film Award 2018 (Best Leading Actor)

Thomas Stuber was born in 1981 in Leipzig and completed his degree in Media and Directing at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in 2011. With the short film Es geht uns gut he won the Young Talent Award of the Film Industry in Baden-Württemberg in 2006. His first feature film Teenage Angst was selected for the Berlinale/Perspektive Deutsches Kino in 2008 and won the German Young Talent Award at the Sehsüchte International Student Film Festival. In 2011 his short film Of Dogs and Horses was nominated for the First Steps Award. It won the Gold German Short Film Award and received a second prize Student-Oscar in 2012. His feature film A Heavy Heart premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and won the Silver German Film Award in 2016. His latest film, In the Aisles, premiered in Competition at the Berlinale 2018.

 

YOUNG KARL MARX, THE [LE JEUNE KARL MARX; DER JUNGE KARL MARX]

Following his documentary I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO, Raoul Peck takes on the story of the formative friendship of Karl Marx (August Diehl) and Friedrich Engels (Stefan Konarske). From Germany to France to England, the young thinkers pursue justice for the working class, who toiled under obscenely exploitative conditions to enrich their employers (including Engels’ father, a mill owner) during the peak of the Industrial Revolution. Peck crafts an accessible biopic about these two larger-than-life thinkers, taking them down from their historicized pedestals and allowing viewers to relate to them as young strivers disrupting an inequitable status quo through the power of persuasion and organization. Official selection, 2017 Berlin International Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Raoul Peck; SCR Pascal Bonitzer; PROD Nicolas Blanc, Rémi Grellety, Robert Guédiguian. Germany/France/Belgium, 2017, color, 118 min. In German, English and French with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Run Time: 118 Minutes
Genre: Historical drama