Tag Archives: Power Generation Industries

The Pipe (2010)

80m; Ireland

Director: Risteard Ó Domhnaill

Synopsis: “The most dramatic clash of cultures in modern Ireland, the rights of farmers over their fields, and of fishermen to their fishing grounds, has come in direct conflict with one of the worlds most powerful oil companies. When the citizens look to their state to protect their rights, they find that the state has put Shell’s right to lay a pipeline over their own.

The Pipe is a story of a community tragically divided, and how they deal with a pipe that could bring economic prosperity or destruction of a way of life shared for generations.”





The Shutdown (2009)

10m; U.K.

Director: Adam Stafford

Synopsis: A mesmerizing portrait of the influence of an oil refinery in a Scottish town. Stirring narration coupled with stunning images mark this moving short.

Contact: Screened at 2009 SilverDoc

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Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Documentary, Experimental



The Wages of Fear (1953)

131m; France

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot

Cast: Yves Montand, Charles Vanel and Peter van Eyck

Synopsis: In a remote part of Venezuela right after World War II various European emigres look for work in the oil fields.  When a giant fire erupts, several of these men are hired to transport large stocks of nitroglycerine, which involves traversing a long stretch of treacherous terrain.  Fantastic acting and a truly suspenseful film.

(NYT) Where to watch: Kanopy and the Criterion Channel; available for rental on Amazon and iTunes.

Few jobs are as harrowing as the one four desperate expatriates undertake in this thrilling film directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot.

Men too broke to escape a sweaty Latin American village leap at the chance to earn $2,000 apiece driving an emergency shipment of nitroglycerin 300 miles to extinguish an oil inferno for an American company. The company, circumventing its union drivers and rules, provides open-bed trucks that lack even rudimentary safety features like shock absorbers.

One driver is Yves Montand in a breakthrough role, cigarette hanging from his lip and kerchief rakishly tied around his neck, as he grips the juddering steering wheel along treacherous jungle roads through this relentless, heart-stopping journey of teamwork, cowardice and betrayal. HELEN T. VERONGOS


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Wild River (1960)

110m; U.S.

Director: Elia Kazan

Cast: Montgomery Clift, Lee Remick and Jo Van Fleet

Synopsis (IMDB): A young field administrator for the TVA comes to rural Tennessee to oversee the building of a dam on the Tennessee River. He encounters opposition from the local people, in particular a farmer who objects to his employment (with pay) of local black laborers. Much of the plot revolves around the eviction of an elderly woman from her home on an island in the River, and the young man’s love affair with that woman’s widowed granddaughter.



Texas Gold (2008)

21m; U.S.

Director: Carolyn M. Scott

Cast: Peter Coyote, Kinnu Krishnaveni and Patsy Northcutt

Synopsis (IMDB): Portrait of Diane Wilson, local shrimper turned activist in Seadrift, Texas, along Highway 185 where giant petrochemical companies make Calhoun County the nation’s most polluting. Wilson has engaged in hunger strikes seeking changes in companies’ behavior, and she has embarrassed Dow/Union Carbide by entering their plant and hanging a banner from atop a tower. We meet a neighbor, see the vacant Seadrift main street (the fishing industry is virtually gone), and hear from talking heads about Texas’s environmental policies since George W. Bush was governor. We see Wilson’s mock commercial for “Texas Gold,” the local undrinkable water. Wilson remains cheerful and tough.



Porto Marghera-The Last Firebrands (2004)

52m; Italy

Director: Manuela Pellarin

Synopsis: A film about petrochemical workers who took matters into their own hands in the giant industrial zone engulfing Venice. Porto Marghera documents autonomous workers and their experiences from the point of view of the worker-activists themselves. “The mass refusal of literally toxic work forced hours on the job down at the same time as driving wages up. The labour hierarchy that sets white collar against blue, permanent against casual, was attacked by workers insisting on the maximum for everyone. The battle in the factory was linked to working-class life outside through direct appropriation of basic social needs.



Power and the Land (1940)

38m; U.S.

Director: Joris Ivens

Cast: William Adams and Stephen Vincent Benet

Synopsis: A documentary showing the struggle to bring electricity to rural areas of the United States.




Deadline for Action (1946)


Director: Carl Marzani

Synopsis (WorldCat): This film analyses the post-World War II economic situation as experienced by one UE worker named Bill Turner. It focuses on the impact of the nation-wide strike in 1946 when over two million workers went out in protest over wage cutbacks. An animation sequence explains the role of multinational corporations and reveals their questionable business practices overseas during the war.



Silkwood (1983)

131m; U.S.

Director: Mike Nichols

Cast: Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell and Cher

Synopsis: Biographical film about Karen Silkwood, a chemical technician at a Kerr-McGee nuclear power plant in Oklahoma.  Silkwood became increasingly concerned about all manner of safety and health violations at the plant and worked with her union, the Oil, Chemical & Atomic Workers to try to address them.  This led to escalating pressure from the company and eventually Silkwood’s death in a suspicious car accident.