A DELEGATION of workers who have been occupying the Visteon auto parts plant in Belfast for the last month have been invited to help kick off the Dublin Labour FilmFest tonight at the Irish Film Institute.
The Festival is the first of its kind in Dublin and is part of the centenary celebrations of Irish union SIPTU.
‘These workers are battling the same issues in real life that are being explored in the Labour FilmFest’ says Paul Bell of SIPTU, which is co-sponsoring the film festival with the IFI.
He extended the invitation during a visit to Belfast at the weekend.
He was accompanied by Chris Garlock, Co-Ordinator of the Labour Film Festivals project across the USA, who will also be attending the launch of the first Dublin festival on Tuesday.
IFI is also delighted to welcome renowned film historian and restorationist Kevin Brownlow to present his film, Winstanley, for Working Titles.
Working Titles is a new film series on the subject of Film and Work. Commencing on April 28th, Working Titles will include the first IFI Labour Film Weekend, May 1st-3rd, and will continue each Tuesday during May.
Given the changing nature of work today and the increasing challenges being faced by workers and employers in these straitened times, a series focusing on film and work is timely. From the early days of cinema, filmmakers have explored work and working conditions through a range of stories and themes.
This film series, programmed in conjunction with the Dublin Health Services Branch/National Health Division, SIPTU, as part of their centenary celebrations, and Washington DC Labor Film Festival, comprises a selection of films looking at different aspects of work. Each screening will be followed by a talk by representatives from cultural, social and industrial relations fields.
April 28th, 6.30pm
Modern Times (1936)
Charlie Chaplin’s joyous comment on modern industrialisation processes. In his final silent outing, the Little Tramp is driven to distraction by assembly line tasks. After hospitalisation he is mistaken for a Communist, jailed, freed and jailed again and in between, manages to get entangled in an industrial dispute and various jobs before walking off into the sunset with the girl.
May 1st, 6.00pm
Premiere screening of this ultra contemporary romantic comedy. When an American call centre is outsourced to Bombay, manager Todd has to go and train his replacement. Loss of face, cultural misunderstandings and romance ensue, making for hilarious situations. Fans of Slumdog Millionaire or Bollywood films will love this film which has much to say about the effects of globalization on our working environments.
May 2nd, 6.00pm
Renowned film historian Kevin Brownlow will present his newly restored film, a starkly beautiful tribute to Gerard Winstanley, the 17th century revolutionary who led a Diggers commune in Surrey in the aftermath of the execution of Charles 1 in 1649. Winstanley led one of the movements that made up the left wing of the bourgeois revolution which was led by Oliver Cromwell. After the work was completed with the execution of the King, Cromwell took action against those movements that threatened bourgeois property rights. This is an intriguing and stately portrait of the defender of the communal ownership of the land and is shown here in a new print.
May 3rd, 1.00pm
Working Titles Family Screening
The Tweedy Chicken Farm may seem an unlikely venue for a worker’s revolution. But when one of their colleagues literally gets the chop for not reaching the daily egg-laying target, the chickens start to voice dissent. Plucky Ginger makes various valiant attempts at escape till help comes in the form of Rocky the Flying Rooster. He offers to teach them all how to fly and leave the factory. Another gem from Aardman studios that expresses our human hopes and fears through the eyes of our feathered friends.
May 3rd, 2.00pm
Office Space (1999)
Satire and absurdities abound in this hilarious US cult hit about the trials of modern day work practices as experienced by an office drone who falls in love with a dissatisfied waitress (Jennifer Aniston).
Working Titles continues through May at 6.30pm every other Tuesday with:
Director, writer and producer Ken Loach, is renowned for his uncompromising naturalistic work as a film-maker responding to civil rights and social issues. Among his fine and extensive body of work he has tackled stories of migrant workers, unemployment and struggles to unionise. This previously unreleased film tackles the story of a group of railway workers who are made unemployed when the railways are privatised.
Irish Workers on Film
featuring The Irishmen: An Impression of Exile (1965) plus new work
With emigration once more in the news, this film by Philip Donnellan about 1960s emigration to England depicted scenes of isolation and loneliness. Showing alongside this will be extracts from a new documentary film with animated sequences, directed by Alan Grossman and Àine O’Brien, about the daily work of SIPTU activist Anton McCabe with migrant workers.
Ressources Humaines (1999)
This is an early film from Cannes Palme d’Or winner, Laurent Cantet, (The Class), and is a quiet and powerful tale about working, family and class relations. When business graduate Frank returns to his home town to take a management position in the factory in which his father has worked for years, he tries to win workers’ support. But he finds himself caught in the middle between management and his father as layoffs and cutbacks take place.
The Take (2004) plus Panel Discussion
Argentina’s 2001 financial crisis is the backdrop for this documentary by Canadian filmmaker Avi Lewis and writer/producer Naomi Klein about a workers’ takeover of a car factory. When the factory is closed down, the redundant workers find ways of taking it back and making it work again, running the gauntlet of courts, police and politicians. This is a stirring documentary that raises basic questions about economics, government and the human desire for dignity and is particularly timely in light of the Visteon occupation in Belfast.