2013 Labor Film Series
All films shown at the Eastman House Dryden Theater, 900 East Avenue.
Download a printable version of the schedule
Friday, September 6, 8 p.m.
Sunday, September 8, 2 p.m.
LA CAMIONETA: The Journey of One American School Bus (Mark Kendall, US/Guatemala 2012, 72 min., Spanish and English with subtitles) In his feature film debut, Mark Kendall follows the afterlife of a former U.S. school bus as it makes its way south of the border to be repurposed as a camioneta, a brightly multi-colored vehicle for transporting Guatemalans within and between cities. From the auction of the decommissioned bus to its fateful trip through Mexico and struggles of the drivers who contend with gangs, Kendall has crafted a careful study, beautifully filmed, of cross-border relations in the era of globalization. Neither polemical nor sentimental, La Camioneta offers a glimpse of workers’ experiences in the world of international commerce.
Friday, September 13, 8 p.m.
Sunday, September 15, 2 p.m.
BURN: One Year on the Front Lines of the Battle to Save Detroit (Tom Putnam & Brenna Sanchez, US 2012, 86 min.) This engrossing documentary from acclaimed filmmakers Tom Putnam and Brenna Sanchez chronicles the world of the brave firefighters of Detroit’s Engine Company 50, one of the country’s busiest fire houses. Despite deep budget cuts that result in worn equipment and low pay in a decaying city with rampant arson, these firefighters demonstrate remarkable duty and heroism in their work and resilient efforts to overcome political pressures and personal tragedies.
Friday, September 20, 8 p.m.
Sunday, September 22, 2 p.m.
THE WOMEN ON THE 6TH FLOOR (Les femmes du 6ème étage) (Philippe Le Guay, France 2010, 104 min., French and Spanish with subtitles, 35mm) This comedy demonstrates that people of different social classes, living under the same roof, can affect each other’s outlooks and lives. The farce contrasts the values of stereotypical Parisian bourgeois with the stereotypical dignity and earthy humor of migrant domestic workers from Spain. Sketched rather broadly, the film is a vehicle for the excellent Spanish artists who play the servant women on the sixth floor as well as for their French benefactor.
Friday, September 27, 8 p.m.
NOTHING BUT A MAN (Michael Roemer, US 1964, 95 min., 35mm) Ivan Dixon stars as Duff Anderson, an itinerant railroad worker who falls in love with a preacher’s daughter, Josie (Abbey Lincoln). Anderson decides to get married and settle down. In his attempt to find work his collective sensibility, shaped by his union experience, results in his being blacklisted by the town’s white employers. Duff is forced to choose between his principles and making a living. Often cited as a milestone of American cinema, Nothing But a Man garnered two awards at the 1964 Venice Film Festival and was added to the National Film Registry in 1993.
Friday, October 4, 8 p.m.
TAXI! (Roy Del Ruth, US 1932, 69 min., 35mm) After ruthless hoodlums destroy his taxicab, veteran driver Pop Riley (Guy Kibbee) takes matters into his own hands and kills the man responsible. In an attempt to organize a cabby resistance movement, young driver Matt Nolan (James Cagney) reaches out to Pop’s daughter, Sue (Loretta Young), for support. Despite a rocky start, the two fall in love, yet Matt’s fiery temper threatens to ruin their relationship and land him in hot water. A raucous ride, Taxi! handles the topic of workers’ rights with pre-code panache.
Friday, October 11, 8 p.m.
KINKY BOOTS (Julian Jarrold, US/UK 2005, 107 min., 35mm) The inspiration for this year’s Tony-winning musical, this film is based on the true story of one British manufacturer to survive. Unable to compete against foreign competition, the maker of sturdy brogues is about to go under when an order from a drag queen redirects the company into a niche market—producing kinky boots. British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor won a fistful of awards for his portrayal of Lola, the female impersonator who consults with the company on boot design and models its products, all the while contending with homophobic factory workers.
Friday, October 18, 8 p.m. —Double Feature!
BLACK DIAMONDS (Charles Hanmer, UK 1932, 53 min., 35mm) and THE MINERS’ HYMNS (Bill Morrison, US 2010, 52 min.) A stunning amateur film, Black Diamonds follows John Morgan (Beckett Bould), as he tries to raise awareness of miners’ working conditions by documenting them on film. A working coal miner himself, Hanmer produced and shot the film on location. Eight decades later, after Durham’s collieries shut down thanks to Margaret Thatcher, filmmaker Bill Morrison culled rare footage from the British Film Institute and other sources to reconstruct the workers’ lives in The Miners’ Hymns. Morrison mined the archives to give new meaning to the forgotten footage, connecting the social, cultural, economic and political aspects of the industry. The film’s images are accompanied by Icelandic composer Johann Johannsson’s haunting score.
Friday, October 25, 8 p.m.
Sunday, October 27, 2 p.m.
THE WAITING ROOM (Peter Nicks, US 2012, 81 min.) Peter Nicks’ documentary centers on the patients, doctors, and staff of Oakland California’s Highland Hospital, offering behind-the-scenes access as well as insight into our current health care system. Blending cinema verité footage with interviews with doctors, nurses, staff, and patients, The Waiting Room is an unobtrusive, personal record of the hospital’s daily functions and the challenges of treating a community of largely uninsured patients.
Wednesday, May 1, 8 p.m.
REDS (Warren Beatty, US 1981, 195 minutes) This second directorial effort from Warren Beatty was his most daring and politically volatile, painting a sympathetic portrait of America’s radical Left in the second decade of the 20th century. The film focuses on John Reed (played by Beatty), a revolutionary journalist who reported on the Paterson silk strike and the Mexican revolution (1913), the Colorado Coal War (1914), and WWI’s Eastern front (1915), but is best known for his first-hand account of the Russian Revolution (1917) — Ten Days That Shook the World. Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson, and Maureen Stapleton round out the powerful cast nominated in all four acting categories at the Academy Awards, the only film to do so until 2013. An epic film whose complex polemics strongly resonate with our political climate, Reds stands as a lasting testament to the vitality of socially conscious cinema.