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2004 Labor Film Series

All films shown at the Eastman House Dryden Theater, 900 East Avenue


Fall Program

FRIDAY, 3 September. 8 p.m.
(King Vidor, US/UK 1938, 112 min.) Robert Donat plays an idealistic doctor hired by the workers at a Welsh coal mine. When the miners reject his modern treatment methods, he moves to London and establishes a practice exploiting rich hypochondriac patients, finally recovering his values, however. Rex Harrison, Rosalind Russell and Ralph Richardson co-star in master filmmaker Vidor’s moving statement on social class and medical ethics.

FRIDAY, 10 September. 8 p.m.
(Michael Moore, 1997 US, 96 min.) While on a national tour to promote his book, Downsize This!, Michael Moore finds himself faced with further examples of the practices hes written about: factory closings, lay-offs, outsourcing, and temp jobs. Featuring memorable appearances from interview subjects such as Studs Terkel, Garrison Keillor, and Nike CEO Phil Knight, Moore’s follow-up to Roger and Me is an engaging road trip across a country wracked by corporate greed.

FRIDAY, 17 September. 8 p.m.   Rochester Premiere
UZAK, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey 2003, 105 min., Turkish with English subtitles) A farm worker stays with his urbanized photographer cousin in a small Istanbul apartment while looking unsuccessfully for a job. Subtly and believably, tensions between the two men mount toward an inevitable confrontation. Ceylan’s wonderfully nuanced and sometimes darkly funny study of an uncomfortable domestic arrangement won the top acting prizes at the Cannes Film Festival for the two leads Mehmet Emin Toprak and Muzaffer Ozdemir

FRIDAY, 24 September. 8 p.m.
(Vittorio De Sica, Italy 1956, 98 min., Italian with English subtitles) This rarely shown gem from director De Sica and writer Cesare Zavattini, collaborators on The Bicycle Thief and Umberto D, is a heartwarming story about a pair of working class newlyweds who search for a home in crowded postwar Rome. Using their patented neorealist approach, the filmmakers deliver another memorable finale in which the protagonists race against time to finish construction on a squatter’s shack.

FRIDAY, 1 October. 8 p.m.   Rochester Premiere
and À BIENTÔT J’ESPÈRE (I'LL BE SEEING YOU) (Chris Marker, France 1967, 43 min., video, French with English subtitles) Master cinema essayist Marker takes a look at the history behind the unusual strike at a textile factory in Besançon, France in 1967 where the workers refused to disassociate wage issues from demands for greater workplace control. Followed by the equally stirring AN INJURY TO ONE (Travis Wilkerson, US 2002, 52 min.) which intriguingly relates the story of the 1917 murder of Wobbly union organizer Frank Little in Butte, Montana, and the environmental legacy of Butte’s copper mines.

FRIDAY, 8 October. 8 p.m.
(Kim Bartley/Donnacha O’Briain, Ireland 2003, 74 min., English and Spanish with subtitles) In April, 2002, Venezuela’s ruling class, implicitly backed by the U.S., engineered a military coup to overthrow the populist, democratically elected regime of President Hugo Chavez. Using blatant misinformation, privately-owned television networks waged a campaign that called for the uprisings. An independent Irish filmmaking crew happened to be present to document state power changing hands twice during a tense 48 hour period. You may not see a more gripping, politically important or hopeful film this year.

FRIDAY, 15 October. 8 p.m.
(Hart Perry, US 2003, 83 min.) Perry, the cinematographer of Harlan County U.S.A., combines his footage of a 1979 Mexican-American onion pickers’ strike in Texas with footage from the 1990s, when he revisited the town to cover a related and controversial school board election. We discover that in the intervening years the town has become more economically depressed and ethnically divided. This documentary about a broken community is not afraid to ask hard questions about the consequences of challenging the system.

FRIDAY, 22 October. 8 p.m.
(Fons Rademakers, Netherlands/Indonesia 1976, 170 min., Dutch with English sub-titles) Max Havelaar, an idealistic Dutch bureaucrat in Java, attempts to reform abuses of the colonial system and is met with extreme resistance from both Dutch and local elites. Rademakers’ brutal portrayal of exploitation and corruption in the Dutch East Indies is based on an autobiographical novel whose 1860 publication, like that of UncleTom’s Cabin, caused a political furor. New 35mm print.

FRIDAY, 29 October. 8 p.m.
(John Carpenter, US 1988, 97 min.) A homeless drifter (wrestler ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper) discovers a reason for the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor: a conspiracy by non-human aliens who have infiltrated American society in the guise of wealthy yuppies. With the help of special sunglasses that reveal the aliens’ true faces and their subliminal messages (“marry and reproduce”; “submit to authority”), our hero tries to stop the invasion. Carpenter’s deliriously imaginative satire of Reaganomics and the (greed is good era also has one of the funniest (and longest) fight scenes in American cinema.


Special Screenings

SUNDAY, 1 February. 8 p.m.
(Peter Watkins, France 2001, 345 min., video, French with subtitles) With copious historical research and hundreds of actors, venerable documentarian and media critic Watkins created this amazing feature on the revolutionary Paris Commune of 1871, mixing elaborate reenactments of the ground-level dramatic events with the anachronistic device of government TV news reporting. Join us on Super Bowl Sunday for this exciting alternative event — the super bowl of class struggle. (J. Hoberman of the Village Voice called this the best film of 2002). Part I will be shown at 1 p.m.; there will be a one hour intermission at 4 p.m.; Part II will begin at 5 p.m.

FRIDAY, 26 March. 8 p.m.
Rochester Premiere. ROSETTA
(Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Belgium 1999, 95 min.) Winner of the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, the Dardennes brothers (The Son, La Promesse) deliver a fiercely realistic, almost documentary style study of a poor teenaged girl looking to escape her grim life. When she finds a job in a waffle stand, Rosetta learns she is not prepared to deal with the working world. This deeply affecting drama has moved audiences all over the world and has even influenced child labor laws in Belgium. Sponsored by the Rochester Labor Council. This program is also made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the French Ministry of Culture.

FRIDAY, 14 May. 8 p.m.   Rochester Premiere
(Fernando Leon de Aranoa, Spain 2002, 113 min., Spanish with subtitles) Javier Bardem stars in this powerful story about shipyard workers in northern Spain. Laid off as a result of industrial restructuring and waterfront gentrification, they try to make ends meet and struggle to recover identities defined by work. The third feature by Leon de Aranoa confirms the director as one of Spain's brightest young talents. The producer of this Best Foreign Film Oscar nominee is Elias Querejeta, the man responsible for introducing audiences to Victor Erice and Carlos Saura. Sponsored by the Rochester Labor Council.

FRIDAY, 30 July. 8 p.m.
(Charles Chaplin, US 1936, 87 min.) As a big city factory worker, the Little Tramp confronts the mechanized world in what may be Chaplin's finest and funniest film. The perfectly crafted physical humor has delighted audiences for decades, while Chaplin's vision of the common man adjusting to a newly industrialized and urbanized world makes this one of the most thought-provoking motion pictures of the depression era. Sponsored by the Rochester Labor Council. Newly restored 35mm print!


2023 Labor Films

Past Film Series Schedules

2022 Labor Film Series
2021 Labor Film Series
2020 Labor Film Series
2019 Labor Film Series
2018 Labor Film Series
2017 Labor Film Series
2016 Labor Film Series
2015 Labor Film Series
2014 Labor Film Series
2013 Labor Film Series
2012 Labor Film Series
2011 Labor Film Series
2010 Labor Film Series
2009 Labor Film Series
2008 Labor Film Series
2007 Labor Film Series
2006 Labor Film Series
2005 Labor Film Series
2004 Labor Film Series
2003 Labor Film Series
2002 Labor Film Series
2001 Labor Film Series
2000 Labor Film Series
1999 Labor Film Series
1998 Labor Film Series
1997 Labor Film Series
1996 Labor Film Series
1995 Labor Film Series
1994 Labor Film Series
1993 Labor Film Series
1992 Labor Film Series
1990-91 Labor Film Series
1989 Labor Film Series