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Movies about the Labor Movement

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blocho
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Movies about the Labor Movement

#1

Post by blocho » May 14th, 2019, 6:07 pm

ICM has no list for movies about the labor movement. I've decided to rectify this situation, and you can see the preliminary result here:

https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/labo ... es/blocho/

I'd appreciate suggestions for additions to this list. I am looking for movies that feature the labor movement in their narrative in any way, whether in a positive or negative light. Narrative elements might include organizing, unions, collective bargaining, striking, picketing, litigation, etc.

I am specifically not looking for movies about slave revolts (no Spartacus), the evil of owners and managers (no Horrible Bosses), or how work sucks (no Office Space) -- though they are worthy subjects, I will not include them if they do not also feature depictions of labor movement activity. I also am not including movies about the political labor movement or political revolution unless they also feature labor movement activity.

I have not seen all of the movies that are already on the list. I have based some inclusions on written descriptions of their plots. If people believe any of the movies do not belong, based on the criteria above, please let me know.

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hurluberlu
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#2

Post by hurluberlu » May 14th, 2019, 6:52 pm

Needs more French films, we are specialists in (non) Labor… :rolleyes:

Starting with, top of my head, :
Une Chambre en Ville (1982)
Germinal (1993)
Human Resources (1999)
Deux jours, une nuit (2014)
En guerre (2018)

Others:
Germinal (1913)
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Metello (1970)
La classe operaia va in paradisio (1972)
La Patagonia Rebelde (1974)
Bound for Glory (1976)
Comrades (1986)
#JeSuisCharlie Liberté, Liberté chérie !

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#3

Post by GruesomeTwosome » May 14th, 2019, 6:57 pm

Sorry to Bother You (2018, Boots Riley)
I’m to remember every man I've seen fall into a plate of spaghetti???

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#4

Post by albajos » May 14th, 2019, 7:14 pm

Hvem eier Tyssedal? (1975) https://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/hve ... lquestion/
Streik! (1975) https://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/streikexclamation/

Labour Party
Documentary about Gerhardsen, which was Prime Minister in Norway 1945-1965 for Labour https://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/tillitsmannen/ I haven't seen it, so I don't know if it fits. (but I'll watch it soon)

Otherwise: http://sandulligrace.com/the-best-labor ... -all-time/ (read the comments for more titles)
Last edited by albajos on May 14th, 2019, 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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#6

Post by Knaldskalle » May 14th, 2019, 9:26 pm

Reds (1981).
Personal film goals for 2019.
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#7

Post by flaiky » May 14th, 2019, 9:52 pm

There's a list of documentaries here: https://letterboxd.com/monocle/list/toi ... mentaries/
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#8

Post by matthewscott8 » May 14th, 2019, 10:06 pm

Specificaly going for movies I liked, and are about the labor movement:

Joe Hill (1971) - Another Bo Widerberg
Acht Stunden sind kein Tag (1973 - Fassbinder)
Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 (1976 - Alain Tanner)

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#9

Post by Lonewolf2003 » May 14th, 2019, 10:27 pm

Man of Iron (1981)

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#10

Post by brokenface » May 14th, 2019, 10:50 pm

Moonlighting
Peterloo
Walesa: Man of Hope

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#11

Post by Nathan Treadway » May 14th, 2019, 11:29 pm

Interesting topic.. My stepmother was the Union Steward at her job for several years before retiring, and my father was very heavily involved in union work as well, so, definitely a theme I'm at least somewhat interested in..

The River (1984) could possibly fit. While it's not exactly about the labour movement, there's a rather major sequence in the middle of the film where Mel Gibson's character takes a job at a factory that's on strike. I'll probably think of more later.

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#12

Post by blocho » May 14th, 2019, 11:34 pm

Many thanks for all the suggestions. I've added many and will continue to do so.

I've just found this site (https://laborfilms.com/) which has a database of nearly two thousand movies. Though the site's criteria is wider than my own, I might make another list for their database.

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#13

Post by 3eyes » May 15th, 2019, 2:51 pm

I'd thought of Brassed off but wasn't sure it was what you wanted.

Cant find a search thingy in that database but what about The Proud Valley (1940, Paul Robeson in the Welsh coal mines)?
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#14

Post by insomnius » May 15th, 2019, 4:01 pm

Wildcat at Mead (1972)
http://interferencearchive.org/wildcat-at-mead/

(Not on Imdb, though)

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#15

Post by blocho » May 15th, 2019, 4:30 pm

3eyes wrote:
May 15th, 2019, 2:51 pm
I'd thought of Brassed off but wasn't sure it was what you wanted.

Cant find a search thingy in that database but what about The Proud Valley (1940, Paul Robeson in the Welsh coal mines)?
The list is now up to 98 movies: https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/labo ... es/blocho/

I couldn't tell from written descriptions of the plots of Brassed Off and the Proud Valley whether they included labor movement activities or just were focused on the plight of workers. Increasingly, I'm thinking I made a mistake by limiting my list only to labor movement movies. It seems unfair and arbitrary to leave off movies like the two 3eyes suggested or the many others (Los Santos Inocentes, Banditi a Orgosolo) that address the life of workers.

But if I modified the list or added another, where would I draw the lines of criteria? There are many movies that show people working without really being about labor. And then there are all the political/revolutionary movies that are more broadly about mechanisms of oppression without directly indicating labor relations.

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#16

Post by albajos » May 15th, 2019, 4:40 pm

Brassed Off is about workers, but outside one reference to a strike 10 years earlier it's really just about the village brass band, and how it connects the them.

But to add every movie about workers, like Office Space, Dilbert or Modern Times (or the beginning of Joe vs the Volcano) kind of loses the point of the struggle. Then were more into Kafka territory where the job just seem pointless in the broad sense. So that would be another list entirely.

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#17

Post by 3eyes » May 15th, 2019, 5:04 pm

blocho wrote:
May 15th, 2019, 4:30 pm
3eyes wrote:
May 15th, 2019, 2:51 pm
I'd thought of Brassed off but wasn't sure it was what you wanted.

Cant find a search thingy in that database but what about The Proud Valley (1940, Paul Robeson in the Welsh coal mines)?
The list is now up to 98 movies: https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/labo ... es/blocho/

I couldn't tell from written descriptions of the plots of Brassed Off and the Proud Valley whether they included labor movement activities or just were focused on the plight of workers. Increasingly, I'm thinking I made a mistake by limiting my list only to labor movement movies. It seems unfair and arbitrary to leave off movies like the two 3eyes suggested or the many others (Los Santos Inocentes, Banditi a Orgosolo) that address the life of workers.

But if I modified the list or added another, where would I draw the lines of criteria? There are many movies that show people working without really being about labor. And then there are all the political/revolutionary movies that are more broadly about mechanisms of oppression without directly indicating labor relations.
I think your criteria are just fine. Broadening them would indeed lead you into a morass.

I haven't seen The Proud Valley (found others I hadn't seen but restrained myself). From what I could tell from the IMDb reviews they avoided the whole labor relations ball of wax with a Deus ex machina, i.e. WW II. (It should be on the Criterion Channel but isn't.)
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#18

Post by blocho » May 28th, 2019, 2:07 pm

After two weeks and many hours of work, I'm proud to present what I consider the first definitive version of the list of labor movement movies (and TV):
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/labo ... es/blocho/

A few notes of interest:
- More than a third of the list entries have no checks. Many of these are TV productions and/or very obscure documentaries, often self-funded and never distributed widely.
- More than a third of the movies have been made since the new century. I believe this is a consequence of the advent of cheaper filmmaking methods, particularly video. When filmmaking was more expensive, it required the support of large companies, and these companies were often loathe to depict the labor movement.
- I found several lists on the same topic on imdb and other sites. None of them are as comprehensive as the one I created.

All that being said, the list is not perfect. There are certainly overlooked movies that deserve to be on it. And perhaps there are also a few on the list that don't belong there. I welcome suggestions.

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#19

Post by 3eyes » May 28th, 2019, 6:06 pm

Well, it'll do to be going on with - at least until I watch the 91% I haven't seen. In short, well done!

Maybe the broader area of, say, resistance to corporate exploitation (eg. Tambien la lluvia, a fave of mine) is another list.
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#20

Post by blocho » May 28th, 2019, 7:23 pm

3eyes wrote:
May 28th, 2019, 6:06 pm
Well, it'll do to be going on with - at least until I watch the 91% I haven't seen. In short, well done!

Maybe the broader area of, say, resistance to corporate exploitation (eg. Tambien la lluvia, a fave of mine) is another list.
I'm glad you have like the list. Tambien la Lluvia sounds fascinating. When I was in Bolivia back in 2011, I got unexpectedly waylaid by a protest over water access for El Alto (that was quite a story). I didn't know something similar was happening in Cochabamba.

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#21

Post by St. Gloede » May 28th, 2019, 7:37 pm

Amazing work!

I found another one: Perla w koronie / Pearl in the Crown (1972, Kazimierz Kutz) which follows a long and harsh coal mining strike.

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#22

Post by Mate_cosido » May 28th, 2019, 7:57 pm

This is one of my favourite subject matters, thanks for the list, at the top of my head i see 3 of my favourite movies missing, Ken Loach's "Days of Hope", an amazing miniseries about a working class family in the early 20th century, "from the great war to the general strike", the South Korean movie "A Single Spark", about the real story of a labour activist in the dictatorial regime of Park Chung-hee, and what is probably my favourite Argentinian movie, "Los traidores", about the rise and fall of a peronist union leader in the sixties

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0150282/
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0121755/
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0069401/

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#23

Post by blocho » May 28th, 2019, 8:26 pm

The list has been updated with Mate's and Gloede's suggestions. Thanks for helping out. Does anyone know any other movies that belong on the list?

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#24

Post by 3eyes » May 29th, 2019, 12:45 am

PS, just watched my current Netflick, Bisbee '17 - quite astonishing in a meta sort of way.
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#25

Post by Nathan Treadway » June 28th, 2019, 11:37 am

I'm not sure if you've seen this or not, but I just ran into it:

Workers in Motion

Just did a quick comparison, there's 97 films on this list that's not on yours, although some of them won't fit your criteria (Bicycle Thieves, Kes..) I haven't gone through the list individually, just glanced, so, maybe there's a few more that do?

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#26

Post by blocho » June 28th, 2019, 3:04 pm

I'm pretty sure I went through that list when I put together mine, but thanks for checking and being interested. I'm thinking of starting an ongoing labor movie challenge, perhaps beginning on may day next year (or maybe US labor day in September)

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#27

Post by Leopardi » June 29th, 2019, 2:33 am

Great list and great topic! In case you haven't already gone through it, here's a wiki that might have a few titles not yet on the list.

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