From the TUC

London Labour film Festival: One week to go

06 Sep 2012, By

London Labour Film Festival

It’s just one week before the inaugural London Labour Film Festival, when we will officially join the global movement of labour film festivals from the USA and Turkey to Canada and Australia. It’s an important cultural event for the UK labour movement and one not to be missed.

Many people think of documentary films when they think of labour as a genre, but I hope that this festival will broaden people’s minds to the vast array of films that are out there. The event will screen 18 phenomenal films, carefully chosen by experts in the field to cover a range of genres from drama, social realism and science fiction, as well as documentaries. Bringing such films together is a great way for the labour movement to reach out to the public, the media and our own members, with a union message in way that is entertaining and accessible.

The London Labour Film festival, as well as hosting classic films and welcoming special guests to give interesting post-screening talks, is a festival engaged with the issues of the day, and of the effects of the current climate on working people. Ross Ashcroft’s incendiary new film FOUR HORSEMEN explores the flaws of the system that has created the current economic climate, and what might be done to make the world a more just place. Interviewing 23 international experts including Noam Chomsky, the film is an eye opening account of the change that need to be made to create a more just world. The screening will be followed by an expert panel discussion from leading economists.

Having made a huge splash at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, we’re delighted to also be screening SNOWS OF KILIMANJARO (2012) coinciding with the film’s UK premiere. Award winning filmmaker Robert Guédiguian’s latest exploration of working class life in France, is a moving and constantly surprising tale of a union boss whose faith in the movement is shaken when he is robbed by a co-worker. This very special film is not to be missed.

Other powerful dramas exploring working class life in different parts of the world include Gonzalo Inarittu’s powerful, award winning BIUTIFUL (2010), featuring a powerhouse performance from Javier Bardem as a man facilitating the exploitation of migrant labour in Barcelona, who begins to question his life when diagnosed with a terminal illness, and MONDAYS IN THE SUN (dir. Fernando Leon de Aranoa, 2006), which also stars Bardem as one of a group of friends adjusting to a life in a declining dockyard city. Both films will be presented by an expert from Spain’s largest trade union, who will speak about the film’s relationship to labour conditions in modern Iberia.

Also relating to real lives under pressure is NORMA RAE (Martin Ritt, 1979), another classic film detailing political awakening, this time of Sally Fielding’s passionate and flamboyant union worker.

Continuing a strand of international films that touch upon the lives of indigenous and migrant workers around the world, additional programme highlights include the now classic WORKINGMAN’S DEATH (MICHAEL GLAWOGGER, 2005), a poetic meditation on the working conditions of labourers in places as diverse as the Ukraine, Nigeria and China. Similarly, MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES (dir. Jennifer Baichwal, 2006) is a hauntingly beautiful film based upon photography of self described “working class hell” in countries such as China and Bangladesh, taking in stunning vistas and powerful human stories. Neither film is to be missed on the big screen.

The event is straight after TUC Congress  and we look forward to seeing you there! Find out more and book tickets online now at

GUEST POST: Anna Burton is the director of the London Labour Film Festival. She has spent the last 13 years working for the labour movement and runs a film production company in London.

2 Responses to London Labour film Festival: One week to go

  1. Midge
    Sep 7th 2012, 8:07 am

    Sounds like a great event, but I wish I’d got to know about it sooner. Is there a website? There seems to be no link…

  2. Midge
    Sep 7th 2012, 8:07 am

    Ah, found it.