Friday, 19 September 2008

The Working Class Goes to Heaven

Second in a series of free film screenings about going to work and going beyond it

Date: 19 September, 2008 Time: 7.00pm for 7.30pm start
Location: The Pullens Centre, Crampton St, SE17

Programme: Workers leaving the Factory by Harun Farocki followed by The Working Class Goes to Heaven by Elio Petri.

I was a piecework laborer, I followed the politics of union, I worked for productivity, I increased output, and now what have I become? I’ve become a beast, a machine, a nut, a screw, a transmission belt, a pump!

The Working Class Goes to Heaven:

Steeped in the volatile political conflicts taking place in Italy at the time, the Hot Autumn of 1969, the rejection of the compromises of the Italian communist Party (PCI), the refusal of work, factory and university occupations, Elio Petri's film The Working Class Goes to Heaven explores the struggles in the factory in all their contradictions; between consumerism and work, alienation, libidinal desire, self-destruction and, potentially, collective action. The Working Class Goes to Heaven demonstrates an impressive and inspiring illustration of the exploitation of capital society and the alienation of workers under this system. It showed us how the ruling class manipulates the ideology into people’s mind by alienating them through work, and how the workers are exploited with and without being conscious of that. Furthermore, it also gives us a sketch of the futility of reformism and the issues which will be confronted in the process of revolution. [borrowed from:]

Elio Petri, The Working Class Goes to Heaven/La Classe Operaia va in Paradiso (1971) 111 min.

Workers leaving the Factory:

Workers Leaving the Factory - such was the title of the first cinema film ever shown in public. For 45 seconds, this still existant sequence depicts workers at the photographic products factory in Lyon owned by the brothers Louis and Auguste Lumière hurrying, closely packed, out of the shadows of the factory gates and into the afternoon sun. Only here, in departing, are the workers visible as a social group. But where are they going? To a meeting? To the barricades? Or simply home? These questions have preoccupied generations of documentary filmmakers. For the space before the factory gates has always been the scene of social conflicts. And furthermore, this sequence has become an icon of the narrative medium in the history of the cinema. In his documentary essay, Harun Farocki explores this scene right through the history of film: 'I have collected images from several countries and many decades expressing the idea "exiting the factory", both staged and documentary - as if the the time has come to collect film-sequences, in the way words are brought together in a dictionary.' Harun Farocki quoted from [arttorrents:] ">Harun Farocki, Workers leaving the Factory/Arbeiter verlassen die Fabrik (1995) 36 min.

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