2008 Labor Film Series
All films shown at the Eastman House Dryden Theater, 900 East Avenue
Friday, September 5, 8:00 p.m. — Rochester Premiere
PETE SEEGER: THE POWER OF SONG (Jim Brown, US 2007, 93 min.)
This engaging documentary traces the life of folk icon Pete Seeger,
emphasizing his lifelong belief in the power of music as both a social
and a political force. Director Brown utilizes contemporary footage
of Seeger and his wife, Toshi, along with newly remastered recordings
of Seeger’s songs, and interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan,
Joan Baez, and others.
Friday, September 12, 8:00 p.m. — Rochester Premiere. John Gianvito in Person!
PROFIT MOTIVE AND THE WHISPERING WIND (John Gianvito, US 2007, 58 min.)
Using Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States as a basis, filmmaker Gianvito
crafts an elegant and elegiac chronicle of the progressive movement in America by visiting cemeteries,
plaques, and monuments. Told without narration, Gianvito pays homage to those who fought for
their beliefs and who have been forgotten by popular history. The film-maker will discuss his
work following the screening.
Preceded by THE INTERNATIONALE (Peter Miller, US 2000, 30 min.) Pete Seeger
and Billy Bragg help tell the story of the legendary song that became the anthem for
Friday, September 19, 8:00 p.m.
CHRIST IN CONCRETE (a.k.a. SALT TO THE DEVIL and GIVE US THIS
DAY, Edward Dmytryk, UK1949, 120 min.)
Italian immigrant Germenio (blacklisted American actor Sam Wanamaker),
exploits his fellow workers in dangerous construction work in order to
provide for his own family. Set in NYC’s Little Italy (but shot entirely in
England!), this compelling working class drama was the only film made by
director Dmytryk after he refused to testify before the House Un-American
Activities Committee and before he became a “friendly” witness.
Friday, September 26, 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 28 4:30 p.m. — New 35mm print!
MONSIEUR VERDOUX (Charles Chaplin, US 1947, 123 min.)
Leaving the Little Tramp behind, Charles Chaplin plays a soft-spoken French gentleman who supports
his children and crippled wife by marrying rich widows and killing them. Chaplin’s theme —
that if war is the logical extension of diplomacy, then murder is the logical extension of
business — is delivered in a series of darkly hilarious and elegantly staged comic
sequences, culminating in another of the director’s poignant conclusions. Almost unanimously
vilified upon its original release, it today takes its rightful place among Chaplin’s masterpieces.
Friday, October 3, 8:00 p.m. — Rochester Premiere
THE WOMEN OF BRUKMAN (LES FEMMES DE LA BRUKMAN, Isaac Isitan, Canada 2008,90 min., Spanish with subtitles) Argentina’s “fabrica ocupanda”
phenomenon, where workers run abandoned factories where they had previously been employed, is explored
in this rousing documentary about what happened at one specific suit manufacturer. The group of women
who took over the Brukman factory have become international symbols for workers, standing as an
inspiring solution to daunting economic challenges.
Friday, October 10, 8:00 p.m. — Rochester Premiere
STRIKE (STRAJK — DIE HELDIN VON DANZIG, Volker Schlöndorff, Germany/Poland 2006,
104 min., Polish with subtitles) The latest film from the director of The Tin Drum tells the true story of an
ordinary woman who helped spark a revolution in Poland. Shipyard welder Agnieszka (Katharina Thalbach), concerned
about dangerous working conditions, speaks up to no avail. After an accident kills several employees and their
families are denied pension benefits, she steps up her activities, becoming a union leader and powerful adviser
to Lech Walesa, laying the foundation for the Solidarity movement.
Friday, October 17, 8:00 p.m.
PITFALL (OTOSHIANA, Hiroshi Teshigahara, Japan 1962, 97 min., Japanese with subtitles)
When a miner leaves his employers and treks out with his young son to become a migrant worker, he finds himself
moving from one eerie landscape to another, intermittently followed (and photographed) by an enigmatic man in a clean
white suit, and eventually coming face to face with his inescapable destiny. Teshigahara’s
(Woman in the Dunes,
Antonio Gaudi) debut feature and first collaboration with novelist Kobo Abe, Pitfall is an unsettling ghost story,
a portrait of human alienation, and a compellingly surreal critique of soulless industry.
Friday, October 24 — Pre-Code Double Feature! Two films for one regular admission price
HEROES FOR SALE (William Wellman, US 1933, 73 min.) One of the most thrilling pre-code melodramas,
Heroes for Sale follows working class hero Richard Barthelmess as he survives serious injury in WWI, overcomes a
morphine addiction, faces unemployment, finds love (with Loretta Young) and a steady job, and tries to stop a
vicious strike mob ̬ and that’s just in the first half!
TAXI! (Roy Del Ruth, USA 1932, 69 min.) Taxi driver James Cagney rallies his fellow cabbies in a fight against
the monolithic company that threatens to ruin their independent drive to make a living. Look for
Cagney’s first on-screen dance number in a scene with Loretta Young and up-and-comer George Raft.
Friday, October 31, 8:00 p.m. — Halloween Special
LAND OF THE DEAD (George A. Romero, US 2005, 93 min.) The fourth and most politically savvy of Romero’s
gory and satirical cycle of flesh-eating zombie movies shows us a world almost completely taken over by the ghouls.
A group of rich Americans (led by Dennis Hopper) have protected themselves from the living dead in a heavily guarded
luxury high-rise. Outside, other survivors with presumably less money scavenge for the wealthy amidst the zombie
population, which is becoming increasingly intelligent and organized.
Friday, February 22, 8:00 p.m.
KILLER OF SHEEP (Charles Burnett, US 1977, 83 min., 35mm). The life of
a working class family affected by unemployment in the Watts district of Los Angeles is
poetically evoked by writer/director Burnett in his feature debut. A landmark in American
independent filmmaking, Burnett’s lyrical, elliptical style is marked by a frequently
perfect matching of music to his haunting images. One of the first films elected to the
Library of Congress’ National Film Registry, Killer of Sheep was recently preserved
on 35mm by the UCLA Film & Television archive.
Friday, April 28 8:00 p.m.
WORKINGMAN’S DEATH (Michael Glawogger, Austria 2005, 122 min.) Screening this documentary on Workers Memorial Day fittingly commemorates the significance of heavy manual labor and its cost in human life. The film’s segments on Ukrainian coal miners, Indonesian sulphur miners, Nigerian slaughterhouse workers, Pakistani shipbreakers, and Chinese steel workers, like the photographs of Sebastiano Salgado, both celebrate and lament the labor it depicts.
Friday, June 20, 8:00 p.m. — New 35mm print!
THE ORGANIZER (I COMPAGNI, Mario Monicelli, Italy 1963, 126 min., Italian with subtitles).Marcello Mastroianni stars as a socialist labor organizer in turn-of-the-century
Turin who helps textile workers fight for better working conditions. From the director of Big Deal on
Madonna Street, “this is one of the great Italian films of the 60s, it cries
out for rediscovery.” (Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader)
Co-presented by the Rochester Labor Council.