London Labour Film Festival

This video is called Liverpool Against WORKFARE the MOVIE.

By Anna Burton in England:

London Labour Film Festival

Sunday 02 September 2012

Cinema is a fantastic way to explore important issues and bring people together.

Apart from entertainment, cinema offers understanding and insight in hard times too. The great depression of the 1920s and ’30s saw people flocking to the cinema and in the current economic climate we are seeing the same thing.

That’s why the inaugural London Labour Film Festival, which runs from September 13-15 at the Prince Charles cinema in the West End, is all about celebrating film’s social commitment and its power to explore the lives and pressures faced by working people.

It’s supported by the TUC and a number of unions including Unison, Bectu, Unite, the Writers Guild and the NUJ.

Over the three days, the festival boasts 18 phenomenal films, as well as a series of special discussions and events.

Featuring films from all over the globe, highlights include special screenings of Mike Leigh’s High Hopes (1988), the light-hearted yet profound exploration of an idealistic couple and how they come to terms with their inability to change the world for the better amid public sector cuts.

Set in a time that remarkably mirrors events happening in Britain in 2012, Leigh will be on hand to field questions about the relevance today of one of his most famous films.

Also in the festival is Ken Loach‘s Navigators (2001), a powerful account of the compromises on rail safety and working conditions that accompanied Thatcher’s cuts. In the context of recent developments with Virgin Trains and RMT, Loach will be present to discuss the enduring power of one of his most important films.

Tributes to the likes of Charlie Chaplin – with a screening of his 1936 Modern Times – and Woody Guthrie are also in the programme. The rebellious musical sounds of The Men They Couldn’t Hang will precede Bound For Glory, Hal Ashby’s 1976 biopic of Guthrie.

Journalist and commentator Owen Jones will introduce a screening of the British classic Brassed Off, the hilarious and moving drama starring Pete Postlethwaite, Ewan McGregor and Tara Fitzgerald as members of a brass band in a mining town during Thatcher’s era. It’s a film which still has relevance in a period of yet more cuts hitting working people as it highlights the endurance of culture in the face of such onslaughts.

The wider international perspective is provided by Ross Ashcroft’s incendiary new film Four Horsemen, which explores the flaws of the system that has created the current economic climate and what might be done to make the world a more just place.

It’s followed by a panel discussion with leading economists including Nicola Smith, head of the TUC’s economic and social affairs department.

Cannes film festival success Snows Of Kilimanjaro (2012) coincides with the film’s British premiere. It is filmmaker Robert Guediguian’s latest exploration of working class life in France, a moving and constantly surprising tale of a union leader whose faith in the movement is shaken when he is robbed by a co-worker.

There is also Gonzalo Inarittu’s powerful, award-winning Biutiful (2010) on the exploitation of migrant labour in Barcelona and Mondays In The Sun (2006) on life in a declining dockyard city.

Both films will be presented by a Spanish trade unionist, who will speak about the films’ relevance to labour conditions in modern Iberia.

Also relating to real lives under pressure is Norma Rae (1979), another classic film detailing political awakening, this time of Sally Fielding’s passionate and flamboyant union worker.

The international strand also includes films on the lives of indigenous and migrant workers in Ukraine, Nigeria, Bangladesh and China.

The Fantastical, The Fun And The Scary: Workers Of The Future is a series of scary and funny takes on future workforces, including Duncan Jones’s modern classic Moon (2009) and the latest satirical zombie masterwork from George A Romero, Land Of The Dead (2007), John Carpenter’s B-Movie classic They Live (1987) and Fritz Lang’s ultimate fantastical vision of future labour Metropolis (1927).

Our aim is to celebrate cinema’s ability to stimulate, entertain and bring people together in difficult times, challenging expectations and showing that whether political or escapist, film is at its best when portraying the reactions of working people to the world around them.

Hope you can participate!

Full details of the festival are available at

See also here.

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