Wage Slaves

Working Man’s Death

The festival opens on the evening of Friday 18th July with a rare UK screening of the disturbingly expressive German documentary by Michael Glawogger:

Is heavy manual labor disappearing or is it just becoming invisible? Where can we still find it in the 21st century? Workingman’s Death follows the trail of the HEROES in the illegal mines of the Ukraine, sniffs out GHOST among the sulfur workers in Indonesia, finds itself face to face with LIONS at a slaughterhouse in Nigeria, mingles with BROTHERS as they cut a huge oil tanker into pieces in Pakistan, and joins Chinese steel workers in hoping for a glorious FUTURE.
“Meanwhile, the future is now in Germany, where a major smelting plant of bygone days has been converted into a bright and shiny leisure park. Work can be many things. Often it is barely visible; sometimes, difficult to explain;and in many cases, impossible to portray. Hard manual labor is visible, explainable, portrayable. This is why I often think of it as the only real work.” 
Michael Glawogger

The centrepiece of the festival is an exclusive pre-release screening of brand new feature documentary. In 1984, Margaret Thatcher labelled 160,000 striking miners, their families and supporters, ‘The Enemy Within’.  It was to be the longest industrial dispute in British history. As the strike began, a group of miners emerged that were prepared to fight on the front line of every major battle.  They were demonised by the media and despised by the government. Dubbed ‘Arthur’s Army’, they were to lead a fightback that would not just rock the government but would change British society forever. Still  The Enemy Within  is a unique insight into one of history’s most dramatic events: the 1984-85 British Miners’ Strike.No experts. No politicians. Thirty years on, this is the raw first-hand experience of those who lived through Britain’s longest strike. Follow the highs and lows of that life-changing year. Still The Enemy Within has also just won the Audience Award at the 2014 Sheffield Documentary Festival.

The story of Rubin ‘The Hurricane’ Carter inspired the 1975 Bob Dylan song “Hurricane” and in memory of, Rubin Carter, who died on April 20th, the Tolpuddle Radical Film Festival will be screening the Oscar nominated, The Hurricane, the 1999 biog picture directed by Norman Jewison and starring Denzel Washington.

Ken Loach’s 1985 classic on the miners strike.

Which Side Are You On? was commissioned for transmission as part of the South Bank Show (ITV, 1978-), but was not shown because of its “highly partial view on a controversial subject”. London Weekend Television, the commissioning company, felt that it was more of a political film than an arts film.

Loach‘s brief was to make a programme that showed what the striking miners were writing and singing. He felt that this was what he delivered and was angered that the programme was banned on the basis that it overstepped official guidelines on political impartiality.

Loach has always felt that no documentary can ever be neutral or ‘balanced’ (and nor can the news) and he acknowledges that he made the film entirely from the miners’ point of view. Following the decision to pull the programme he said “It is clear that only approved people can make comments about a struggle as decisive as the miners.”

Salt of the Earth is a 1954 American drama film written by Michael Wilson, directedby Herbert J. Biberman, and produced by Paul Jarrico. All had been blacklisted by the Hollywood establishment due to their alleged involvement in communist politics.
The film was co-produced by the International Union of, Mine, Mill And Smelt Workers and is one of the first U.S. films to advance the feminist social and political point of view. Its plot centres on a long and difficult strike, based on the 1951 strike against the Empire Zinc Company in Grant County, New Mexico.

In the film, the company is identified as “Delaware Zinc,” and the setting is “Zinctown, New Mexico.” The film shows how the miners, the company, and the police react during the strike. In neorealist style, the producers and director used actual miners and their families as actors in the film.

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