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Subject: Labor

Though labor strikes are not an entirely modern phenomenon, the fight of workers and their struggles for basic human rights, including the organizations that backed them and, at times, fought against them, are a mostly modern affair.

A Decent Factory (Nokia: A Decent Factory)

  • Director: Thomas Balmès
  • Release Date: 2004
  • Production Country: United Kingdom, Finland, France, Denmark, Australia

Employees of the Finnish company, Nokia, travel to the Chinese factory where their products are made to investigate human rights abuses, where they find some problems but apparently nothing really to write home (or make a movie) about.

Brassed Off

  • Director: Mark Herman
  • Release Date: 1996
  • Production Country: United Kingdom, United States

The fortunes of the town's brass band are tied up in the fate of the local coal mine that is in danger of closing, but with a national championship competition on the horizon, Danny desperately tries to keep the band together. Gloria's arrival helps, though no one is quite certain why the lovely flugelhorn player has returned to her home village at just this moment; ultimately, the band members, like the miners, must decide whether to move forward together or go their separate ways.

Bread and Roses (Bread & Roses)

  • Director: Ken Loach
  • Release Date: 2000
  • Production Country: United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland

Maya's dream of a better life in the United States seems to have come true when she and her sister, Rosa, get jobs a janitors, but the women must deal with a capricious boss and low wages, always under the threat of deportation if their undocumented status becomes an issue. The stakes rise when a labor organizer, Simon, arrives to help the workers organize; but while Maya sees him as a savior, Rosa's husband is ill and she is desperate to keep her job, even with its minimal benefits.

Butte, America: The Saga of a Hard Rock Mining Town

  • Director: Pamela Roberts
  • Release Date: 2008
  • Production Country: United States

The discovery of copper in Butte, Montana in the 1880s launches the small mining town on a wild ride of greed, ambition, prosperity, labor strikes, and vice. But when the copper runs out, so do the mine owners, leaving largely forgotten the city that helped launch labor rights and electrify the nation—literally, its only legacy the environmental devastation left in the wake of a glorious past.

Chircales (The Brickmakers)

  • Director: Marta Rodríguez, Jorge Silva
  • Release Date: 1972
  • Production Country: Columbia

A family of poverty-stricken brickmakers in Columbia provide a view into labor and living for Indigenous Columbians.

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