2017 Rochester Labor Film Series
September 1 - November 3
All films shown at the Eastman House Dryden Theater, 900 East Avenue.
Friday, September 1, 7:30 p.m.
A BETTER LIFE
(Chris Weitz, US 2011, 98 min., 35mm)
Set in contemporary East Los Angeles the film, whose plot partially parallels that of Bicycle Thief, sympathetically depicts experiences of undocumented Mexican immigrants including manual labor, schools, gangs, family, ICE and deportation. Mexican-American actor Demiàn Bichir received an Oscar nomination for his moving portrayal of a father who risks everything to make una vida mejor for his son.
Preceded by THE JOB (Jonathan Browning, US 2007, 35mm/DCP, 4 min.), a satirical short poking fun at a hot-button political issue.
Friday, September 8, 7:30 p.m.
(Bei xi mo shou, Zhiao Liang, China 2015, 90 min., DCP, Mandarin w/subtitles)
Beginning with mine blasting in Mongolia and ending in a ghost city west of Beijing, political documentarian Zhao Liang’s visionary new film Behemoth details, in one breathtaking sequence after another, the social and ecological devastation behind an economic miracle that may yet prove illusory.
Friday, September 15: Note: NO LABOR FILM SCREENING THIS WEEK
Friday, September 22, 7:30 p.m.
ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN
(Alan J. Pakula, US 1976, 138 min., 35mm)
Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford are Washington Post journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, the men who exposed the Watergate break in that led to the impeachment of President Nixon. Director Alan J. Pakula’s gift for portraying paranoia is matched by his exciting and detailed depiction of investigative reporting. The supporting cast of this timeless political classic includes an Oscar-winning Jason Robards as Ben Bradlee and Hal Holbrook as Deep Throat.
Discussion to follow.
Friday, September 29, 7:30 p.m.
THE DYING OF THE LIGHT
(Peter Flynn, US 2015, 94 min., DCP)
Proving that not only industrial workers are displaced by technology, The Dying of the Light documents the extinction of the role of film projectionists in the digital age. The history and craft of motion picture presentation is explored through the lives and stories of the last generation of career projectionists, whose candid reflections on life in the booth reveal a world that has largely gone unnoticed and is now at an end.
Discussion with local film projectionists—the unseen people who have brought the light to our screens—will follow.
Friday, October 6, 7:30 p.m.
The Alloy Orchestra in Concert
(Stachka, Sergei M. Eisenstein, Soviet Union 1925, 95 min., 35mm, Silent with intertitles)
The workers of the world unite in a forceful, brilliantly constructed film of labor triumphant against brutal factory owners, government inspectors, and police spies. The official purpose of this government-sponsored project was to inform the masses, but Eisenstein believed that films should impart not merely information but sensation and impression as well. The place of story is thus taken by images of collective action and a brilliant “montage of attractions” —a cinematic perpetual motion machine, with each action or movement yielding to the next, all towards the utopian goal of worker solidarity and emancipation. The renowned Alloy Orchestra returns to the Dryden to perform the live musical accompaniment, surely another cinematic experience not to be missed.
Special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Friday, October 13 NOTE EARLY START TIME: 6:30 p.m
(Frederick Wiseman, US 1999, 248 min., 16mm)
Belfast, Maine is a film about ordinary experience in a beautiful old New England port city, a portrait of daily life with particular emphasis on the work and the cultural life of the community. Documented activities include the work of lobstermen, tug-boat operators, factory workers, shop owners, city counselors, doctors, judges, policemen, teachers, social workers, and nurses and ministers, as well as such cultural work as choir rehearsal, dance class, music lessons and theatre production. Perhaps his finest accomplishment, Belfast, Maine summarizes Wiseman’s tireless effort to chronicle American society.
Friday, October 14, 8 p.m.
IN DUBIOUS BATTLE
(James Franco, US 2016, 110 min., DCP)
The first of John Steinbeck’s dustbowl novels, In Dubious Battle chronicled the struggle of migrant apple pickers tor decent wages and better working conditions. A native of California’s central valley, Steinbeck well understood the conflict between itinerant workers, led by Wobblies and Communists, and the wealthy growers.The film adheres closely to the novel’s narrative, exploring social issues addressed by Steinbeck here and in Of Mice and Men and, more fully, in The Grapes of Wrath.
Friday, October 27, 7:30 p.m.
(Fielder Cook, US 1956, 83 min., 16mm)
Rod Serling gained critical acclaim for writing this mid-1950s drama of office politics in the executive corridor of a giant industrial corporation. The merciless, success-bent president (Everett Sloane) plans to replace his caring and aging vice-president (Ed Begley) with a promising new industrial relations executive (Van Heflin), who must confront the opposing forces of personal ambition and the ethics of responsibility. In this (white) man’s world the film’s main women characters—secretaries and wives—challenge as many stereotypes as they uphold. Patterns depicts many of the issues in classic studies of the time, like Whyte’s Organization Man and Mill’s White Collar.
Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive
Friday, November 3, 7:30 p.m.
NO GOD, NO MASTER
(Terry Green, US 2013, 94 min., DCP)
When a series of package bombs show up on the doorsteps of prominent politicians and businessmen in the summer of 1919, U.S. Bureau of Investigation Agent William Flynn (David Strathairn) is assigned the task of finding those responsible. Inspired by such real events as the Palmer Raids, the deportation of Emma Goldman and other anarchists and the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti, this thriller has timely parallels to today’s response to terrorism, the persecution of undocumented immigrants and attacks on labor unions.