DC LABOR FILMFEST 2009
October 13 - 19
Organized and presented by the Metropolitan Washington Council of the AFL-CIO, the Debs-Jones-Douglass Institute and the American Film Institute, DC Labor FilmFest 2009 boasts an array of new films and beloved classics about work and workers, from the American office to the far-flung factories of the global economy. For more information, visit dclaborfilmfest.org.
Union members: show your union card at the box office for discounts on regularly-priced shows!
AFI Member passes will be accepted at all screenings in the DC Labor FilmFest 2009 unless otherwise indicated.
In Person: Director Jennifer Baichwal
Jennifer Baichwal's mesmerizing documentary on the work of artist Edward Burtynsky has deservedly gained a passionate following since its 2006 release, and here makes a much-needed return to the big screen in time to coincide with the Corcoran Gallery of Art's new exhibit of Burtynsky's photographs. Internationally acclaimed for his large-scale photographs of "manufactured landscapes"--quarries, recycling yards, factories, mines and dams--Burtynsky creates stunningly beautiful art from civilization's materials and debris. The film follows him through China as he shoots the evidence and effects of that country's massive industrial revolution. With breathtaking sequences, such as the opening tracking shot through an almost endless factory, the filmmakers also extend the narratives of Burtynsky's photographs, allowing viewers to meditate on man's impact on the planet and witness both the epicenters of industrial endeavor and the dumping grounds of its waste.
DIR/PROD Jennifer Baichwal; PROD Daniel Iron, Nick de Pencier. Canada, 2006, color, 80 min. In English and Mandarin with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Tuesday, October 13, 7:00
Tickets $12 / $9 AFI Members
Screening made possible by Zeitgeist Films, the Embassy of Canada and the Corcoran Gallery of Art.
Visit the Corcoran Gallery of Art to see the exhibit "Edward Burtynsky: Oil," October 3 through December 13. Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky has traveled internationally for more than a decade to chronicle the global production, distribution and use of oil, the energy source that has shaped the modern world. This world premiere exhibition, comprised of approximately 55 large-scale color landscape photographs, provides a penetrating look at one of the most important subjects of our time, by one of the most respected and recognized contemporary photographers in the world. For more information, please visit corcoran.org.
Bravura performances and a ripped-from-the-headlines plot make this a must-see. When her husband takes off with the down payment on their double-wide trailer just days before Christmas, Melissa Leo is drawn into the shadowy world of smuggling at a little-known border crossing on the Mohawk reservation between New York State and Quebec. A riveting film that manages to locate a thin but steely ray of hope without ever betraying the grittiness of its tale of illegal immigration, ethnic tension, depressed real estate, high gas prices and dire poverty. Oscar nominations for Best Actress (Melissa Leo) and Best Screenplay (Courtney Hunt), and an AFI AWARDS 2008 movie of the year.
DIR/SCR Courtney Hunt; PROD Chip Hourihan, Heather Rae. US, 2008, color, 97 min. In English and French with English subtitles. RATED R
Tuesday, October 13, 9:45; Wednesday, October 14, 9:20
WILD BOYS OF THE ROAD
Recession Special: Depression Era Double Feature!
Impoverished by the Depression, teenage buddies Tommy and Eddie take off to fend for themselves and lighten their unemployed parents' load. Far from home, the boys' romantic dreams of new found freedom and idyllic odyssey are shattered by the brutal lessons of the dog-eat-dog nature of life on the ragged fringes of society. Director William A.Wellman (THE PUBLIC ENEMY) brings a vivid ferocity to this hard-edged road movie. Such clear-eyed and unflinching depictions of poverty, lawlessness and the victimization of youth would soon become rare in Hollywood. (Note courtesy of Harvard Film Archive)
DIR William A. Wellman; SCR Earl Baldwin, based on the story by Daniel Ahern; PROD Robert Presnell Sr. US, 1933, b&w, 68 min. NOT RATED
HEROES FOR SALE
One of the most thrilling pre-Code melodramas, this film follows working class hero Richard Barthelmess as he survives serious injury in World War I, overcomes a morphine addiction, faces unemployment, finds love (with Loretta Young) and a steady job, and tries to stop a vicious strike mob...and that's just in the first half! (Note courtesy of Rochester Labor Film Series)
DIR William A. Wellman; SCR Robert Lord, Wilson Mizner; PROD Hal B. Wallis. US, 1933, b&w, 71 min. In English and German with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Wednesday, October 14, 6:30
Recession Special: Tickets just $7!
SCHMATTA: RAGS TO RICHES TO RAGS
In Person: Director Marc Levin and Joe Raico (Joe the Cutter), President of Local 10, the Cutters Union & Chairman of the New York Metropolitan Area Joint Board
Official Selection, 2009 Toronto Film Festival, 2009 Hamptons Film Festival
A cautionary story of labor and greed, this documentary follows the decline of the once-robust apparel manufacturing industry in the U.S., while chronicling the industry's relationship with unions and government, offering a firsthand account of how the industry helped generations of Americans march out of poverty and into the middle class. Though the film reminds us of the early days of the garment industry and its heyday, it also probes its troubling decline. Director Marc Levin focuses his lens on Manhattan's Garment District, an eight-block area which gave birth to the domestic industrial labor movement. From its immigrant origins in the 19th Century, the labor movement rose quickly against deplorable sweatshop conditions. In recent years, however, the realities of automation, deregulation, globalization and outsourcing eventually eroded the industry's unprecedented momentum.
DIR/SCR Marc Levin; PROD Daphne Pinkerson. US, 2009, color and b&w, 75 min.
Thursday, October 15, 7:30
Tickets are FREE and will be available at the theater box office only, starting at noon on October 15. Limit 2 per person.
THE GRAPES OF WRATH
John Ford's film brilliantly brings John Steinbeck's Depression classic to the screen--where it won Ford his second Academy Award for directing. Forced from their homestead by economic forces beyond their control, Tom Joad (Henry Fonda) and his family migrate west to the promised land of California, their rickety truck piled high with belongings in a desperate trek that's become all too familiar to families and workers around the world. Now, as then, the Promised Land is not what he thought it would be.
DIR John Ford; SCR Nunnally Johnson, based on the novel by John Steinbeck; PROD Darryl F. Zanuck. US, 1940, b&w, 128 min. NOT RATED
Thursday, October 15, 7:00; Sunday, October 18, 4:00
Paul Schrader's (TAXI DRIVER, RAGING BULL) first film stars Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel and Yaphet Kotto as auto workers who accidentally uncover corruption in their union local. The New York Times critic Vincent Canby called it "a sort of poor man's ON THE WATERFRONT" and labor film guide author Tom Zaniello says "its scope is ambitious [and] tries to do a lot--explore racism, friendship, union corruption, the crushing of working-class militancy and spirit." Schrader's classic resonates even more strongly now, through the prism of a bankrupted American auto industry and a labor movement struggling to reinvent itself.
DIR/SCR Paul Schrader; SCR Leonard Schrader, Sydney A. Glass; PROD Don Guest. US, 1978, color, 114 min. RATED R
Thursday, October 15, 9:30; Friday, October 16, 7:00
*Friday show tickets just $5!
Dave Bracken wants to get the right job, meet the right girl. He just needs to figure out the right lies... An utterly charming romantic comedy about young workers trying to find a job in Dublin, Ireland. The side-splitting scenes of ridiculous job interviews alone are worth the price of admission. Pompous interviewer: "And what brought you here today?" Perplexed interviewee: "Um, that would be the want ad."
DIR Lisa Mulcahy; SCR Steven Murray; PROD AnneMarie Naughton. Ireland, 2008, color, 97 min. NOT RATED
Friday, October 16, 5:00*; Sunday, October 18, 6:30
Friday tickets just $5!
Paul Newman is casually brilliant as an aging player/coach for the Charlestown Chiefs, a third-rate professional hockey team in a dying New England mill town that just lost 10,000 mill jobs. Newman knows that the team--and his job--are on the chopping block, too, threatened by a greedy owner looking to cash out. When general manager Strother Martin imports the violent Hanson brothers, mayhem and raucous laughter ensue in a film that's been called "one of the funniest ever made about any sport."
DIR George Roy Hill; SCR Nancy Dowd; PROD Stephen Friedman, Robert J. Wunsch. US, 1977, color, 123 min. RATED R
Friday, October 16, 9:30; Saturday, October 17, 10:30
Abruptly laid off from his white-collar job, Teruyuki Kagawa hides his unemployment from his family and spends his days with other out-of-work men before reluctantly accepting menial work scrubbing toilets in a mall. Meanwhile, his older son defies him by joining the American Army and shipping off to Iraq, his youngest son secretly skips school to take forbidden piano lessons, and his wife decides to get a driver's license. An unpredictable and surprisingly moving study of a dysfunctional family in a time of economic chaos. (Note courtesy of Rochester Labor Film Series)
DIR/SCR Kiyoshi Kurosawa; SCR Max Mannix, Sachiko Tanaka; PROD Wouter Barendrecht, Yukie Kito. Japan/Netherlands/Hong Kong, 2008, color, 120 min. In Japanese with English subtitles. RATED PG-13
Saturday, October 17, 5:00; Monday, October 19, 9:20
BOUND FOR GLORY
David Carradine plays folk singer Woody Guthrie in this superlative biopic, which follows Guthrie as he travels across America looking for work--and singing for the working man. Director Hal Ashby and cinematographer Haskell Wexler (who won an Academy Award for his work) vividly evoke the late 1930s era in which the film takes place, and Carradine gives one of his best performances as a hero to underdogs everywhere. Co-starring Ronny Cox. (Note courtesy of American Cinematheque)
DIR Hal Ashby; SCR Robert Getchell, based on the autobiography of Woody Guthrie; PROD Robert F. Blumofe, Harold Leventhal. US, 1976, color, 147 min. RATED PG
Sunday, October 18, 1:00; Monday, October 19, 6:30
In person: Actors Stephen Root (Milton) and Gary Cole (Lumbergh) plus a Swingline red stapler raffle! (7:45 screening only)
"I could burn this place down." A perennial DC Labor FilmFest favorite, the outrageously funny OFFICE SPACE returns for a 10th anniversary screening with a special appearance by Milton (Stephen Root), the office worker who exacts the ultimate revenge on his abusive employer. As always, the screening will feature a raffle of OFFICE SPACE paraphernalia, including Milton's precious red Swingline stapler. Director Mike Judge's theatrical début, OFFICE SPACE was largely ignored upon release but has become a veritable ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW for cube-farmers everywhere; starring Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, John C. McGinley, Stephen Root, and Gary Cole.
DIR/SCR/PROD Mike Judge; PROD Daniel Rappaport, Michael Rotenberg. US, 1999, color, 89 min. RATED R
Saturday, October 17, 7:45 with special guests. Tickets $12 / $9 AFI Members
Saturday, October 17, 11:30pm late show - Just added! Tickets regular price.