1993 Labor Film Series
All films shown at the Eastman House Dryden Theater, 900 East Avenue
Friday, October 8
SILKWOOD (Mike Nichols, US, 1983, 131 min.)
Karen Silkwood, a worker at the Kerr-McGee nuclear power plant, is heavily contaminated by radiation, due to unsafe conditions at the plant. When she decides to blow the whistle on the factory owners, she dies mysteriously in a car accident. Nominated for several Academy Awards, this film features great performances by Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell and Cher.
Friday, October 15
RANK AND FILE (Ken Loach, Great Britain, 1971, 90 min.)
A strike in a steel mill in the British North country is called by the rank and file, while the Labour Party and the Trade Union Council leadership drags its feet. This is one of several films made by Jim Allen and Ken Loach (a self-professed Trotskyite) for British television, which polemically affirmed rank and file militancy in the face of an entrenched bureaucracy.
Friday, October 22
THE NIGHT BEFORE THE STRIKE (Jang San Got Mae, Korea, 1990, 107 min., Korean with subtitles)
A young worker, driven by his hatred of the poverty which traps him, is recruited to scab for the factory bosses, attempting to break a strike. The South Korean government tried to censor and ban this film drama about the after effects of a massive, real-life strike in 1987. Shown at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in 1993.
Friday, October 29
A BRIEF VACATION (Vittorio de Sica, Italy, 1973, 106 min., Italian with subtitles) Exhausted from years of hard physical labor, slaving away for her three children, her disabled husband and senile mother, a working class woman is sent to a sanatorium to recover from tuberculosis. It is her first vacation ever. The last collaboration between de Sica and Cesar Zavattini, the two grandfathers of Italian Neorealism, this film homage to working women who manage families and careers features Florinda Bolkan, Renato Salvatori, Hugo Blanco.
Friday, November 5
REDES (THE WAVE) (Fred Zinnemann, Mexico, 1934, 60 min. Spanish with subtitles)
A group of Mexican fishermen go on strike against the exploitation of a middleman in a small fishing village on the Pacific coast. Produced by the Mexican Secretariat of Education, under the guidance of the photographer/filmmaker, Paul Strand, the film features on location scenery and a non-professional cast of real fishermen. It is one of the beautifully shot docudramas of the 1930s.
WORKERS NEWSREEL (Film and PhotoLeague, US, 1931-32, 35 min.)
In the early 1930s the Film and Photo League produced its own newsreel to counteract the “propaganda” of the Hollywood-dominated media. Program includes: UNEMPLOYMENT SPECIAL (1931), FORD MASSACRE (1932), NATIONAL HUNGER MARCH (1932).
Friday, November 12
MOTHER KUSTER’S TRIP TO HAPPINESS (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Germany, 1975, German with subtitles, 108 min.)
A worker kills his foreman, then commits suicide by jumping into a factory machine, drawing the widow of the worker into a nightmare created courtesy of the yellow press. Only slowly do the reasons for the murder become clear. Fassbinder's film won critical acclaim and numerous prizes
at the time of its original release. With Brigitte Mira, Margit Carstensen, and Karl Bohn.
Friday, November 19
UPRISING OF 1934 (George Stoney and Judith Helfand, US, 1993, 90 min.)
The filmmakers come to Rochester for the world premier of this new documentary about the Great Textile Strike of 1934, when over 200,000 southern workers fought for the right to organize. Professor of Film at New York University, George Stoney is one of this country's leading documentary filmmakers; his 100 films span nearly fifty years.