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2006 Labor Film Series

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

Friday, September 1, 8 p.m.
(Michael Schultz, US 1977, 94 min.) The late, great Richard Pryor takes on three comic roles in this hilarious American remake of Lina Wertmuller’s political satire, The Seduction of Mimi. Our hero is Leroy Jones (Pryor), a fruit picker whose accidental union membership, promotion to manager and romance with a labor organizer puts him at odds with his friends and family. Pryor also plays Leroy’s dirty old man of a father and the obnoxious Rev. Lenox Thomas.

Friday, September 8, 8 p.m. — Rochester Premiere
(David Zeiger, US 2005, 84 min.) This powerful and surprising new documentary chronicles the largely forgotten anti-war activities of active-service American GIs and other members of the military during the Vietnam era. Veterans who participated in the opposition movement and organized their fellow troops tell their own stories. Sir! No Sir! opens a little-investigated chapter of history and shows how soldier-workers can protest unfair and dangerous working conditions.

Friday, September 15, 8 p.m. — Rochester Premiere
(Jim Brown, US 2004, 90 min.) On Thanksgiving Day, 2003, some of the most influential talents in American folk music gathered at Carnegie Hall for a concert to honor Harold Leventhal (1919-2005), their long time supporter and promoter. Among the artists who performed were Pete Seeger, Leon Bibb, Theodore Bikel, Peter, Paul and Mary, Arlo Guthrie, and the surviving members of The Weavers, the only musical act to be blacklisted during the McCarthy era. A joyous testament to the power of music to overcome oppression, the songs performed include “Guantanamera,” “City of New Orleans,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” and “Sinner Man” — the Weavers’ tribute to George W. Bush.

Friday, September 22, 8 p.m.
(Steven Soderbergh, US 2005, 72 min.) One of the best and most overlooked films so far released in 2006 is this spellbinding account of the triangle that develops around three workers at a doll factory in Southeastern Ohio. Told entirely with non-professional performers, the story revolves around the factory’s hiring of Rose (Misty Dawn Wilkins), which subtly disrupts the friendship between young Kyle (Dustin Ashley) and his heavy-set, middle-aged co-worker Martha (Debbie Doebereiner). Part neo-realist character study and part murder mystery, Bubble looks and feels like no other movie out there and it will have you talking and thinking about it for days.

Friday, September 29, 8 p.m.
(Albert Brooks, US 1985, 91 min.) Inspired by the heroes of Easy Rider, highly paid Los Angeles advertising executive David (co-screenwriter and director Brooks) and his wife Linda (Julie Hagerty) decide to “drop out” of society and set out to see the country in a very expensive Winnebago. When Linda blows the couple’s nestegg in a Las Vegas casino, the couple get the best jobs they can — crossing guard and fast food assistant manager — in a small Southwestern town. One of the funniest movies ever made, Brooks’ brilliant satire takes aim at materialistic yuppies in Reagan-era America and hits the target every time.

Friday, October 6, 8 p.m. — Rochester Premiere
(Haskell Wexler & Lisa Leeman, US 2006, 78 min.) In 1997, after working a typical 19-hour day on a film set, assistant cameraman Brent Hershman fell asleep behind the wheel, crashed his car, and died. Deeply disturbed by his colleague’s preventable death, Oscar-winning cinematographer director and activist Haskell Wexler made this powerful and personal documentary essay on our quality of life which shows how sleep deprivation and long work hours are a lethal combination.

Friday, October 13, 8 p.m.
(Donald Shebib, Canada 1970, 90 min.) One of the most acclaimed Canadian features ever made, Shebib’s powerful, realistic drama follows two uneducated laborers (Doug McGrath and Paul Bradley) from the maritime provinces who move to Toronto hoping to find high-paying jobs and the sweet life. Deeply humanistic and observant, it offers us unique insight into the everyday struggle for survival.

Friday, October 20, 8 p.m.
(Bob Rafelson, US 1970, 98 min.) In his first major leading role, Jack Nicholson is Bobby Dupea, an oil rig worker from a wealthy family of musicians. When a family emergency summons him home, Bobby is forced to take a hard look at his past — and his future. One of the key films of the 1970s, this depiction of a society dropout is a study in class and alienation.

Friday, October 27, 8 p.m. — Rochester Premiere
Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Austria 2005, 92 min.) Without dialog and using pristinely photographed images right out of a chilling science-fiction movie, this fascinating new visual essay examines how food is mass-produced in the contemporary world. Detailing the industrial harvesting of fruits and vegetables as well as the breeding and slaughter of animals, director Geyrhalter reveals a sometimes shocking, dehumanized vision worthy of Stanley Kubrick. Our Daily Bread may forever change your ideas of how food gets to your table.

Special Screenings

(Pablo Trapero, Argentina. 1999, 90 min., Spanish with subtitles). In another brilliant debut feature, Trapero follows the trials and tribulations of unemployed single father Rulo (Luis Margani). Just when Rulo gets his relationship with his son and his love life back on track, his world is turned upside down again when a construction job is offered far away in Patagonia. This quietly heartbreaking story of a common man has the power of the great Italian neorealist classics.

FRIDAY, JUNE 16 8 p.m. Rochester Premiere
(Jia Zhangke, China 2004, 139 min., Mandarin, Shanxi and Russian with subtitles). Like the exposes of working conditions in Disney-land and Epcot Center, this film reveals the experiences of the workers — dancers, tour guides, security guards, construction workers — at The World, an actual Chinese theme park which replicates sites and monuments ranging from the Taj Mahal and Angkor Wat to the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The contrast between the workers’ confined lives, their hopes and fantasies, and the illusory premise of the park (“See the world without ever leaving Beijing” ) underlies The World’s commentary on globalization and alienation.


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