Tag Archives: Music

The Internationale (2000)

30m; U.S.

Director: Peter Miller

Cast: Pete Seeger, Billy Bragg

Synopsis: Idealism, socialism, and the power of music in people’s lives.



The Proud Valley (1940)

76m; U.S.

Director: Pen Tennyson

Cast: Paul RobesonEdward Chapman and Simon Lack

Synopsis: Paul Robeson stars as a black miner in Wales. Filmed on location in the South Wales coalfield the heart of the main coal mining region of Wales, Proud Valley documents the hard realities of Welsh coal miners’ lives. Robeson’s part is based on the real-life adventures of a Black miner from West Virginia who drifts to Wales by way of England, searching for work. Robeson sings “Deep River” at a Welch music festival.

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Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Drama, Working Class


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The Union Song (2010)

3m; Canada

Director: Daniel Fewings

Synopsis: A short video containing a bluegrass song about how all members of the education community work together to keep the public school system strong.

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Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Documentary, Education



The Weavers: Wasn’t That a Time (1982)

78m; U.S.

Director: Jim Brown

Synopsis: Documentary about the blacklisted folk group, “The Weavers,” and the events leading up to their triumphant return to Carnegie Hall.



Trouble the Water (2008)

90m; U.S.

Director: Carl Deal, Tia Lessin

Synopsis: A redemptive tale of an aspiring rap artist surviving failed levees and her own troubled past and seizing a chance for a new beginning in post-Katrina New Orleans.

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Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Blacks, Documentary



Up the Ridge (2007)

55m; U.S.

Director: Nick Szuberla and Amelia Kirby

Synopsis: In 1999 Szuberla and Kirby were volunteer DJ’s for the Appalachian region’s only hip-hop radio program in Whitesburg, KY when they received hundreds of letters from inmates transferred into nearby Wallens Ridge, the region’s newest prison built to prop up the shrinking coal economy. The letters described human rights violations and racial tension between staff and inmates. Filming began that year and, though the lens of Wallens Ridge State Prison, the program offers viewers an in-depth look at the United States prison industry and the social impact of moving hundreds of thousands of inner-city minority offenders to distant rural outposts. The film explores competing political agendas that align government policy with human rights violations, and political expediencies that bring communities into racial and cultural conflict with tragic consequences. Connections exist, in both practice and ideology, between human rights violations in Abu Ghraib and physical and sexual abuse recorded in American prisons.

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Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Documentary, Legal System



Yellow Earth (1985)

89m; China

Director: Kaige Chen

Cast: Xueqi Wang, Bai Xue and Quiang Liu

Synopsis (IMDB): Yellow earth focuses on the story of a Communist soldier who is sent to the countryside to collect folk songs for the Communist Revolution. There he stays with a peasant family and learns that the happy songs he was sent to collect do not exist; the songs he finds are about hardship and suffering. He returns to the Army, but promises to come back for the young girl, Cuiqiao, who has been spellbound by his talk of the freedom women have under Communist rule and who wants to join the Communist Army.

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Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Communism/Socialism, Drama



Swing Shift (1984)

100m; U.S.

Director: Jonathan Demme

Cast: Goldie HawnKurt Russell and Christine Lahti

Synopsis (IMDB): In 1941 America Kay and her husband are happy enough until he enlists after Pearl Harbor. Against his wishes, his wife takes a job at the local aircraft plant where she meets Hazel, the singer from across the way to whom she hadn’t previously been all that nice. The two soon become firm friends and with the other girls become increasingly expert workers able to ride the jibes of the male workforce. As the war drags on Kay finally goes on a date with her trumpet playing foreman and life inevitably starts to get complicated.

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Posted by on May 7, 2012 in Comedy, Drama, War, Working Class



Tanaka-San Will Not Do Calisthenics (2008)

75m; Australia

Director: Maree Delofski

Synopsis: This striking film shows the struggle of Japanese Oki Electric Manufacturing worker and singer Tetsuro Tanaka. Tanaka refused to accept the militarization of his job through calisthenics and the mind control of the company. As result, he is harassed and fired by the company. Rather than giving up, he decides to sing every day in front of the factory. He has continued this battle for 28 years, and in the process, has exposed the nature of this corporate management system. Tanaka has been to LaborFest before, and his music continues to ring out. His words “Never import the corporate fascism of Japan!” continue to have meaning.




Tell Us the Truth (2004)

97m; U.S.

Director: Gabriel Miller

Synopsis: Documents the 2003 “Tell Us the Truth” music tour.

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Posted by on May 7, 2012 in Documentary, Organizing