1990-91* Labor Film Series
All films shown at the Eastman House Curtis Theatre, 900 East Avenue
Wednesday, January 16
BLUE COLLAR (Paul Schrader, US 1978, 110 min.) With Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel. Looking at the American auto industry, Schrader explores the boredom, apathy and rage of the rank and file, their lives on the assembly line, and their inability to overcome their hopelessness. Paul Schrader’s best film, offering excellent controlled performances and a wonderfully realistic script, this is an interesting example of the way the media portrays organized labor.
Wednesday, January 23
TOUT VA BIEN (ALL IS WELL) (Jean-Luc Godard, France l972, 95 min. French with subtitles) Probably the most accessible and commercial of Godard’s films from his “revolutionary” Dziga Vertov Group period this film, starring Jane Fonda and Yves Montand, chronicles the breakdown of a relationship between a compromised TV director and an American journalist radicalized by a strike she is covering.
Wednesday, January 30
GLOBAL ASSEMBLY LINE (Lorraine Gray, US 1996, 58 min.) From Tennessee to Tijuana, from Modesto to Manila, this documentary uncovers the new global economy. A portrait of workingmen and women in the “free trade zones” of developing countries, this film demonstrates how U.S. industry eliminates American jobs, while simultaneously exploiting Third World peoples.
Wednesday, February 6
MAN OF IRON (Andzrej Wajda, Poland 1980, 140 min. Polish with subtitles)
Winner of the Grand Prize at Cannes, this film with Jerry Radziwilowicz and Ksystynas Janda is a sequelto Wajda’s Man of Marble. Whereas the earlier film dealt with Polish post-war labor history, Man of Iron is history in the making: Wajda mixes newsreel footage of Lech Walesa with his turbulent story of Polish labor, the Catholic Church and Communism coining to grips with changes brought about by Solidarity
Wednesday, February 13
MODERN TIMES (Charles Chaplin, US 1936, 85 min.) With Chaplin and Paulette Goddard. Print from GEH Archives. Chaplin’s nearly silent classic — with a score by Chaplin himself — is the director’s look at industrialization and modernization from the point of view of his everyman hero, the little tramp. The scenes of Chaplin caught in the cogs of an assembly line will forever remain a metaphor for our modern condition.
Wednesday, February 20
THE WORKING CLASS GOES TO HEAVEN (Elio Petrie, Italy 1975, 119 min. Italian with subtitles) With Gian Marie Volonte and Mariangela Melato. Anther winner of the Grind Prize at Cannes, the film tells the bitter, passionate, emotionally harrowing story of Lulu Massa, a young factory worker caught between the conflicting demands of his job, his bosses, the labor union, and his mistress. Petrie’s title is highly ironic, given the bleakness of his view.
Wednesday, February 27
HOW YUKONG MOVED THE MOUNTAINS: THE GENERATOR FACTORY (Joris Ivens, Peoples Republic of China, 1972-75, 129 min. Chinese with subtitles) Joris Ivens made documentaries for over fifty years, as well as writing the histories of Soviet and Chinese cinema. How Yukong Moved the Mountains is a twelve part series, made nearly forty years after his first China film, The Four Hundred Million (1938). In The Generator Factory Ivens looks at Chinese factory workers attempting to organize against the plant’s administration.
Wednesday, March 6
DRAGON CHOW (DRACHENFUTTER) (Jan Schutte, Germany 1987, 75 min. German, Urdu and Mandarin with subtitles) Dragon Chow is a subtle and moving story of Asian political refugees living on the edge in Germany. The Pakistani hero of the film manages to land a job in a second-rate Chinese restaurant, where he decides to attempt his own version of version of western capitalism.
Wednesday, March 13
H-2 WORKER (Stephanie Black, US1990, 70 min.)
ISLE OF FLOWERS (Jorge Furtado, US 1990, 15 min.)
Black’s hard-hitting documentary explores the question of the Jamaican migrant labor force, which is herded like cattle through the U.S. Immigration Service by unscrupulous Florida agribusiness: a veritable modern slave trade.Winner “Best Documentary,” US Film Festival 1990. Shown with Furtado’s funny-sad look at world hunger.
Wednesday, March 20
THEY DON’T WEAR BLACK TIE (Leon Hirszman, Brazil 1981, 120 min. Portuguese with subtitles) With Fernanda Montenegro and Gianfrancesco Guarieri, This Brazilian film from the post- cinemanuovo era is an intimate portrait of industrial Brazil in the 1980s. A family living in the sprawling megalopolis of Sao Paulo is torn apart by a violent factory strike which pits father against son in an Oedipal climax.
*Programming note: with the decision to move the series from Summer (1989) to Winter, it was necessary to start the next program in January, 1991. Accordingly, there was no labor series in 1990: this program is called "1990-91" to establish the continuity of the Labor Film Series.