Three to See: Proletariat Edition
by Kerstin Larson, Festival Programmer
Quarantine has obviously changed many things for the worse, but one trend I've been excited to see is more people rallying around worker's rights! From a handsome Italian becoming jaded with the bourgeoisie to unionizing factory workers in Bangladesh, these three filmmakers have anticipated the zeitgeist and will hopefully inspire more people to organize for change.
(dir. Noah Hutton)
The gig economy paired with technology has become a force to be reckoned with. Director Noah Hutton has taken this phenomenon and translated it into a not so distant future where people can sign up to lay cables along paths in an upstate New York mountain range. How scenic! I'll admit that I even thought it sounded appealing to get outdoors and breathe the fresh air all while still getting paid. But it turns out this gig is too good to be true and the workers who are supposed to compete with each other instead decide to band together to figure out who they're really working for.
Check out my interview with director Noah Hutton from evening five of The Nightcap, while you're at it:
Made in Bangladesh
(dir. Rubaiyat Hossain)
Made in Bangladesh is a fantastic film for our moment. Like so many workplaces during quarantine, Shimu and her textile factory cohort realize that they don't have to tolerate their dangerous working conditions and paltry wages. Their journey to form a union and stand up to their money hungry bosses will leave you feeling empowered and unstoppable. And not only that, but the film provides a humanizing portrait of the women who make our clothes. I hope it provides a reminder to us all to be mindful consumers and support local stores that aim to be more ethical and sustainable rather than feeding into an exploitative, capitalist system that benefits so few.
(dir. Pietro Marcello)
I'm sure many of us can relate to Martin Eden's story. He starts out a hapless himbo dreaming of life as a part of the educated elite. I, in turn, remember dreaming of being rich enough to afford Uggs and a Razr cell phone when I was an angsty little middle schooler. Oh how times change! In Martin's case, he remains handsome, but his eyes are opened to the corrupt world of the bourgeoisie. He hopes that he can somehow maintain his romance with the beautiful and wealthy Elena, but he feels like a hypocrite as he gains influence as a Socialist thinker. In an effort to avoid spoilers, I will just say that Martin Eden does not have a happy ending, but at least he never wears Uggs.