Socialist Worker

London Labour Film Festival focuses on workers' struggle

Issue No. 2319

The London Labour Film Festival promises to be a film festival with a difference, showing 18 films from around the world touching on the issues of labour struggle.

A must-see is Four Horsemen directed by Ross Ashcroft. Using interviews with 23 talking heads—including Noam Chomsky and Joseph Stiglitz—today’s four horsemen are identified as “a rapacious financial system, escalating organised violence, abject poverty for billions and the exhaustion of the world’s resources”.

Jennifer Baichwal’s Manufactured Landscapes follows photographer Edward Burtynsky’s disturbing but beautiful compositions of toxic rivers and computer dumps.

She focuses on China, making her point visually with footage of the world’s largest slag heaps and mile-long factories where thousands of workers toil silently under one roof.

A collection of rare short films entitled London at Work 1930-1960 is also on show. Hell Unltd (1936) is a devastating protest against the arms trade in the shadow of the Spanish Civil War.

Michael Glawogger’s Workingman’s Death travels the globe pursuing the most dangerous jobs on earth. One example is a picture of hell in a Nigerian slaughterhouse, filled with greasy black smoke and churned blood.

The film shows the role religion plays. Workers from all over say that if they are injured it is in God’s hands. Never has the phrase “blessed are the meek” been so useful to the bosses.

There’s a lot on offer over the three days. Ken Loach introduces his film Navigators. Mike Leigh will speak on his film High Hopes. Chavs author Owen Jones will introduce Mark Herman’s Brassed Off. This festival promises to be the launch of a welcome yearly event.

Mary Brodbin

The London Labour Film Festival runs from 13-15 September at the Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Place, London WC2H 7BY. Go to

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Tue 4 Sep 2012, 17:52 BST
Issue No. 2319
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