2019 Rochester Labor Film Series
October 11 - December 13
All films shown at the George Eastman Museum, 900 East Avenue.
Friday, October 11, 7:30 p.m.
THE KILLING FLOOR
(William Duke, US 1984, 118 min.
Commemorating the Centennial of Chicago’s historic race riot, the film that inspired creation of the Rochester Labor Film Series in 1989, The Killing Floor recounts the true story of efforts to organize an interracial union of Chicago packing house workers during and after World War I. The film explores the tensions between southern black workers lured by high war-time wages, and the ethnic European workers they replace, culminating in the 1919 Chicago race riots. The film won a Special Jury Prize at the 1985 Sundance Film Festival and was selected by the Zinn Education Project as a resource for teaching A People's History.
Friday, October 18, 7:30 p.m.
TREE OF WOODEN CLOGS
(Ermanno Olmi, Italy, 1978, 186 min., Italian w/subtitles)
One of Italy’s prolific directors Olmi, who died last year at age 86, was under-appreciated in the US. Tree of Wooden Clogs reflects his deep understanding of the rhythms of life and labor of northern Italy's peasants and his commitment to them. Winner of the Palme d’Or in 1978, the film depicts the seasonal cycle of work on a small farm in late 19th century Lombardy, capturing in rich detail the social structure and the events which shape the experience of the characters, movingly portrayed by non-actors.
Saturday, October 26, (Note date) 7:30 p.m.
(En Guerre, Stéphane Brizé, France, 2018, 105 min. French, w/subtitles)
Unlike labor films which emphasize class struggles on the shop floor or the picket line, En Guerre shows the struggle waged at the bargaining table. At issue is management’s decision to close an auto parts plant despite wage concessions made by the workers to keep it open. “I have lived this nightmare of greed and race-to-the-bottom economic destruction of communities in the auto industry. I give At War two thumbs up.” (Dan Maloney, Rochester UAW President). A stunning performance by Vincent Lindon (The Measure of A Man).
Friday, November 1, 7:30 p.m.
MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA
(Dziga Vertov, USSR, 1929, 68 min., silent with live performance by the ALLOY ORCHESTRA)
Hailed as one of the greatest documentaries, this classic of experimental early filmmaking shows the work of a cameraman as he records life and work in the streets of Moscow, Kiev and Odessa. The film montage is accompanied by the Alloy Orchestra, which based their score on the director’s notes to his composer for the premiere of the film in 1929.
Friday, November 8, 7:30 p.m.
VERSUS: THE LIFE AND FILMS OF KEN LOACH
(Louise Osmond, UK, 2016, 93 min.)
With 30 films to his credit — all of them dealing with the oppression of workers by their bosses, their government, even their unions — Ken Loach has become Filmmaker to the Working Class. His films have been a staple of the Rochester Labor Film Series: we’ve screened twelve of them! Our tribute begins with Versus, a recent documentary that traces Loach’s career from his early years at the BBC to his prize-winning feature films, describing the evolution of his concerns and methods. (Did you know that he shoots the scenes of feature films in their sequential order?)
Friday, November 15, 7:30 p.m.
SORRY WE MISSED YOU
(Ken Loach, UK, 2019, 100 min.) View the Rochester Labor Council Tribute Resolution to Ken Loach.
Our tribute to Ken Loach continues with his latest feature film. Sorry We Missed You takes up where I, Daniel Blake left off exploring workers’ lives under the stress of late-stage capitalism. A working class family struggles to recover from debt by operating a delivery franchise, only to discover the limitations of the entrepreneurial dream.
Friday, November 22, 7:30 p.m.
(Felipe Bustos Sierra, UK and Chile 2018, 96 min. English and Spanish with subtitles)
On September 11, 1973 the Chilean military bombed the Presidential Palace and overthrew the popular government of Salvador Allende. This compelling documentary tells a little-known story of international labor solidarity: the refusal of workers in Scotland to maintain the engines of the fighter jets used in the attack. These workers’ actions not only grounded planes, they uplifted those who resisted the Pinochet dictatorship.
Friday, December 6, 7:30 p.m.
THE CRIME OF MONSIEUR LANGE
(Jean Renoir, France, 1936, 80 min., French w/subtitles)
“The most humane film ever made about killing your boss” is how one reviewer describes this film about wokers responses to the abuses they suffer by the owner of a publishing company. Orson Wells, who considered Renoir the greatest of all directors, called it an “astonishing excusable-homicide comedy-drama.” It is also among the earliest cinematic depictions of worker control.
Friday, December 13, 7:30 p.m.
(Billy Wilder, US, 1960, 125 min.)
C.C. Baxter learns that getting a key to the executive washroom is not worth lending his apartment key to colleagues for their trysts: “Mr. Dobisch; Mr. Kirby, Thursday; Mr. Eichelberger, Friday; Mr. Vanderhof, Wednesday; Mr. Sheldrake, Mondays and Thursdays.” Included on many best film lists, this classic holiday movie — its story takes place over Christmas-New Years — features glorious performances by Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacClaine and Fred MacMurray with a sparkling script and vibrant direction by Billy Wilder.