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Film still The Navigators movie

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2005 Labor Film Series

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


FRIDAY, 2 September. 8 p.m.
(Jill Sprecher, US 1997, 105 min.) Before Office Space, this funny and sometimes bittersweet comedy showed us another authentic view of corporate hell. In her feature debut, co-writer/director Sprecher focuses on a quartet of office temps (talented actresses Toni Colette, Parker Posey, Alana Ubach and Lisa Kudrow) and shows how the politics of career advancement affect their friendship. Preceded by LOVELY (Graham Drysdale, UK 1998, 12 min.), the story of a tea-girl’s last day at work before she joins the world of the typist.

FRIDAY, 9 September. 8 p.m.
(Daniel Kollo Sanou, France/Burkina-Faso, 2003, 88 min., French and Dioula with subtitles) Sogo, a proud retired West African who fought with the French army in Indo-China and Algeria, now battles red-tape to get his long overdue military pension. When Sogo faces enormous pressure to pay his creditors, he sets out on a humorous, quixotic journey to get what’s coming to him. A gentle and touching portrait of African village life in decolonized times, Tasuma shows the triumph of tribal values over bureaucracy.

FRIDAY, 16 September. 8 p.m. — Rochester Premiere
(Mark Wexler, US 2004, 95 min.) This tough, honest, and ultimately very moving documentary about celebrated cinematographer and liberal activist Haskell Wexler (Medium Cool) is the work of his son Mark, a professed conservative and a talented filmmaker in his own right. At 83, Haskell remains doggedly committed to his politics and his art and Mark unflinchingly examines his dad’s reputation for being difficult to work with and their own strained relationship. Through additional interviews with Jane Fonda, Milos Forman, Conrad Hall and others, what ultimately emerges is a thoroughly human portrait of a man thought by many to be a genuine American hero.

FRIDAY, 23 September. 8 p.m.
(Stewart Bird and Deborah Shaffer, US 1979, 89 min.) In commemoration of the Industrial Workers of the World’s 100th anniversary, we proudly present this invaluable record of an unforgettable era of American history. The Wobblies integrates the songs of the period with photographs, newsreel footage, and contemporary interviews with IWW members.

FRIDAY, September 30. 8 p.m.
(Jack Arnold, US 1957, 80 min.) Orson Welles stars as Ben Sadler, the wealthy and despotic owner of a ranch who practically runs the small town of Spurline. Sadler’s brutish henchmen go too far one night and beat one of the farmhands to death. The town’s sheriff (Jeff Chandler) investigates and finds an unlikely ally in Sadler’s daughter. Welles, more subdued than usual, is powerful in this David vs. Goliath story reset in a small western town.

FRIDAY, 7 October. 8 p.m.
(Warren Beatty, US 1981, 200 min.) In the epic-length, undeniable labor of love that earned him a Best Director Oscar, Warren Beatty plays American anarchist John Reed, whose journeys to revolutionary Russia prompted him to write Ten Days That Shook the World. Reed’s political life is fueled by his love affair with fellow activist Louise Bryant (Diane Keaton). Gripping throughout, the narrative is aided by glorious Vittorio Storaro cinematography, a supporting cast including Jack Nicholson, Maureen Stapleton, and author Jerzy Kosinski, and documentary interviews with historical “eyewitnesses” like Will and Ariel Durant, Henry Miller and George Jessel.

FRIDAY, 14 October. 8 p.m.
(Adrián Caetano, Argentina 2001, 75 min., Spanish with subtitles) With his wife and children 1,500 miles away, a Bolivian cook working illegally in a Buenos Aires greasy spoon forms an alliance with his co-worker, a sympathetic waitress. Their friendship and gradual romance, however, are not enough to protect them from the harsh realities of living and working in a city facing dire poverty and unemployment issues. This modestly budgeted but emotionally powerful drama is a prime example of an exciting new wave of Argentinian cinema.

FRIDAY, 22 October. 8 p.m.
) (Laurent Cantet, France 2001, 134 min., French with subtitles) Hiding his jobless status from his family, a laid-off executive drives to Switzerland where he sleeps in his car and wanders aimlessly through offices and hotels. He eventually finds himself embedded in an inextricable web of lies and scams, leading to an unpredictable and moving conclusion. Director Cantet (Human Resources) co-wrote the compassionate and compelling screenplay with Robin Campillo.

FRIDAY, 28 October. 8 p.m.
(Robin Campillo, France 2004, 105 min., French with subtitles) In a small French town, the dead emerge from their final resting places and return to their homes and jobs. But the resurrected are not their old selves- they never tire and are relatively emotionless. After initially experiencing amazement, the rest of the neighborhood begins to resent, fear and hate those who have returned and the undead are placed in ‘refugee’ camps. Campillo’s thoughtful fantasy is a brilliant social allegory, particularly when it reminds us of how communities react to unexpected floods of immigration.


Special Screenings

Monday, 17 January 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
(David Appleby, Allison Graham, Steven Ross, US 1993, 56 min., video) In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we proudly present this enormously moving documentary that details the events in 1968 Memphis leading up to Dr. King’s assassination. King came to the Southern city to support a strike by grossly underpaid sanitation workers and tried to link this struggle with his Poor People’s Campaign. But King’s peaceful strategies were ultimately met with violence. Supported by the Rochester Labor Council. Free admission. Donations accepted.

FRIDAY, APRIL 29 8 p.m. Rochester Premiere
(Alain Corneau, France/Japan 2003, 102 min., French and Japanese with subtitles). Dynamic and witty actress Sylvie Testud plays a Belgian translator hired to an entry-level position in a giant Tokyo corporation. Her blunders and a series of humiliating demotions expose the highly stratified world of Japanese big business and the role of women in that world. Corneau finds a great deal of humor in her situation, and his compelling visual style rarely allows the camera outside the office, giving the story a suspenseful, thriller-like momentum.

FRIDAY, JUNE 10 8 p.m. Rochester Premiere
(Avi Lewis/Naomi Klein, Canada 2004, 87 min.) In the wake of Argentina’s economic collapse in 2001, a daring new movement began as workers began to occupy abandoned factories and take over bankrupt businesses, creating jobs in the process. Directors Lewis and Klein (author of No Logo, a critique of corporate branding and consumerism) have conceived a powerful political document that pits ordinary workers against Argentina’s ruling elite and the powerful forces of global capitalism.

22 FRIDAY JULY 22, 8 p.m
(Maurice Pialat, France 1979, 85 min., French with subtitles) Pialat's chronicles of youth continue from lonely pre-pubescence in Naked Childhood to confused adolescence in this follow-up. Set in the same mining town as Pialat's first feature, this film also expresses the unpolished realities of an economic crisis and a cycle of despair that is difficult to break. Nevertheless, Pialat creates a portrait of teenage discovery that is poignant, humorous and honest.

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 9:30 p.m.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 5:30 p.m. Rochester Premiere
(Robert Greenwald, US 2005, 90 min.) The latest documentary from the maker of Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism, takes the viewer on a deeply personal journey into the everyday lives of families struggling to fight a retail goliath. From a family business owner in the Midwest to a preacher in California, from workers in Florida to a poet in Mexico, dozens of film crews on three continents bring the intensely personal stories of an assault on families and American values.

During the week of November 13th-19th WAL-MART: The High Cost of Low Price will have 3000 screenings in 19 countries and all 50 states — the largest grassroots mobilization in movie history. Wal-Mart is so concerned about the impact this film will have that it has hired Edelman PR to set up a campaign-style war room and hired Reagan and Clinton media consultants to lead a counteroffensive, even making a video to refute alleged factual errors. If they’re so worried by this film, you probably need to see it!

As the film’s website (walmartmovie.com) notes, “Everyone has seen Wal-Mart's lavish television commercials, but have you ever wondered why Wal-Mart spends so much money trying to convince you it cares about your family, your community, and even its own employees? What is it hiding?”




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