Sunday, 12 December 2010


Sunday 19th December 6pm
At 56a Infoshop, 56 Crampton St SE17

Full Unemployment Cinema Zombie Special

Undead and abject, the zombie is uncontrollable ambiguity. Slouching across the earth, restlessly but with hallucinatory slowness, it is a thing with a soul, a body that is rotten but reactive, oblivious to itself yet driven by unforgiving instinct. – Lars Bang Larsen

For the final Full Unemployment Cinema screening of this year we have prepared a special themed screening around the celluloid body of the zombie. For what body better describes the unemployed negativity of the 20th century worker whose vicissitudes we continue to discuss and graves we continue to dig?

We will be screening some of our favourite zombie and horror clips as well as footage from zombie walks, flashmobs and music videos alongside a special feature: Carnival of Souls.

Mulled wine and snacks will be served.

Carnival of Souls, 1962 (US 78mins)

Carnival of Souls is a low budget 1962 horror film starring Candace Hilligoss. Produced and directed by Herk Harvey who produced industrial and educational films for the Centron Corporation based in Lawrence, Kansas. While vacationing in Salt Lake City, he developed the idea for the movie after driving past the abandoned Saltair Pavilion. Hiring an unknown actress, Lee Strasberg-trained Candace Hilligoss, and otherwise employing mostly local talent, he shot Carnival of Souls in three weeks, on location in Lawrence and Salt Lake City.

The film was made for an estimated $33,000, the movie never gained widespread public attention when it was originally released as it was intended as a B film and today, has become a cult classic. Set to an organ score by Gene Moore, Carnival of Souls relies more on atmosphere than on special effects to create its mood of horror. The film has a large cult following and occasionally has screenings at local film and Halloween festivals. Various prints of the film are in the public domain.

'In Carnival of Souls (1962), one place is allowed to be blatantly creepy: the amusement park where ghosts rest under the water and rise to dance. The rest of the world appears both normal and somehow wrong, and part of what is wrong about it—and within it, and encompassing it—is the liminal protagonist, Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss). For she has gone wrong, and the world with her. It may be her subjective world, as in the Cocteau and Bergman films that producer-director Herk Harvey and screenwriter John Clifford admired, but it is ours as long as we are in the theater, and it looks too much like the real world outside the theater for comfort ... Aside from the music, the most artistically daring element of this film—one that defies a central convention of the horror genre—is its flight from romanticism, its concentration not on a foaming monster or on the hammering bosom of a Hammer heroine, but on a cold fish. If she is a magnet for the gothic, there is nothing exciting or sexy about it. The thrills of this carnival are cold ones, bits of death.' From Carnival of Souls by Bruce Kwin, read more:


and in the mean time, here's a bit of reading:

Invasion of the Aca-Zombies
by Joseph Gora and Andrew Whelan

Zombies of Immaterial Labor: the Modern Monster and the Death of Death

Lars Bang Larsen

via E-Flux,

Undead and abject, the zombie is uncontrollable ambiguity.1 Slouching across the earth, restlessly but with hallucinatory slowness, it is a thing with a soul, a body that is rotten but reactive, oblivious to itself yet driven by unforgiving instinct.

It follows that if the zombie is defined by ambiguity, it cannot be reduced to a negative presence. In fact, it could be a friend. So why does it lend itself so easily as a metaphor for alienation, rolling readily off our tongues? Resorting to the zombie as a sign for mindless persistence is unfair to this particular monster, to be sure, but also apathetic and facile in the perspective of the historical space we inhabit.

My proposal, perverse or braindead as it may be, is that the zombie begs a materialist analysis with a view to contemporary culture. Such an analysis is necessarily double-edged. The zombie is pure need without morality, hence it promises a measure of objectivity; we know exactly what it wants—brains, flesh—because this is what it always wants. Abject monstrosity is naturally impossible to render transparent, but abjectness itself harbors a defined function that promises instrumentality (of a blunt and limited kind, admittedly). In this way we may proceed to address contemporary relations of cultural production, at the same time as we reflect on the analytical tools we have for doing so.

continue reading at this link.

Friday, 19 November 2010


Far From Poland by Jill Godmilow, 1984 (106m)
Sunday November 28th at 6pm
56a Infoshop, 56 Crampton St London SE17

A filmmaker - a woman steeped in the documentary traditions of the Left - sets out to dismantle the sinister symmetry of the Cold War single-handedly and show the world the road to salvation through the miracle of the Polish Solidarity movement. When denied visas to shoot in Poland proper, she constructs a film in New York City called FAR FROM POLAND. Over the barest bones of documentary footage, she drapes dramatic re-enactments of Solidarity texts, formal vignettes and swatches of soap opera, to engage the audience in her personal, complex, contrary and contradictory understanding of the Polish struggle.

FAR FROM POLAND is probably the first American non-fiction film (Godmilow calls it a "drama-tary") to explode cinema verite's mythic claim to be the only trustworthy mode of representation for discussing the real world, and in particular, social and political issues, on film. Refused a visa to travel to Poland, "Jillski" (her Polish nickname in the film) has to literally re-invent the documentary to deal with the Polish situation and she does so with a particular eye to deconstructing not only documentary's specific claims to objectivity, but also the bourgeois audience's desire to sit comfortably in their seats, feel compassion, feel themselves part of the solution (not part of the problem) by having felt compassion for the poor oppressed Poles, who, Godmilow would argue, are far more acutely aware of their situation and what forces oppress them than the liberal American folk in the movie house.

In the course of the film, she interviews Polish exiles who try to help her "organize" some footage from Poland. She has long telephone conversations with Fidel Castro who wants her to stop making the film. (Fidel asks her, "Is it always going to be like this... is great art always going to be in conflict with the state? Jillski says, "I didn't want to break his heart so I didn't say a word.") She re-produces, with superbly performed re-enactment, four long, now famous interviews published in the Solidarity press - with Anna Walentynowicz, the fired crane operator for whom the strike started in the Gdansk shipyard; with ex-censor, K-62, who is now looking everywhere for a new job; with a Polish miner, interviewed by a reporter from the New York Times who can't quite fathom the notion of a "workers' movement in a workers' state"; and with General Jaruzelski (fictional), years after the imposition of martial law on his own people. There are Polish jokes, from both sides of the Atlantic and soap-operatic self-criticism. (Jill - explaining the Solidarity movement to her boyfriend Mark: "For 35 years, the Polish workers have been told that they own the means of production and now they're calling that bluff. They'll decide for themselves what to make, how to make it, and what it's worth." The phone rings - Mark gets it. He listens for a moment, then covers the mouthpiece, "It's Karl Marx, from Workers Utopia. He says, 'Jillski, come home.' Jill retorts, "Why do you have to turn everything into a goddamn joke?" Mark, "Because I don't have anything as important as Poland to hold my miserable little life together. I'm tired of you walking around seeing the goddamn light all the time. I'm tired of all these Poles sleeping on our sofa."

Wednesday, 17 November 2010


The UnCine central committee have decided to postpone the screening of THE HOUR OF THE FURNACES (Octavio Getino + Fernando Solanas) for technical and complicated reasons. But we will screen it in 2011 at some point. So we are still deciding what film we will be showing on SUNDAY NOV 28th at 6pm at 56a Infoshop. So keep checking the blog or sign up for our email list and we will send you a message about the decision.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Men In Prison

Full Unemployment Cinema Prison Special
Sunday October 31st at 5.30pm - remember the clocks go back the night before!!

Was shown in a freezing ass cold squat in SE5!!

Harun Farocki, Gefängnisbilder aka Prison Images, 2000
Jacques Becker, Le Trou, 1960

With guest speaker John Barker
Author of Bending the Bars

Harun Farocki,Gefängnisbilder aka Prison Images, 2000 (60 mins)

A film composed of images from prisons. Quotes from fiction films and documentaries as well as footage from surveillance cameras. A look at the new control technologies, at personal identification devices, electronic ankle bracelets, electronic tracking devices. The cinema has always been attracted to prisons. Today's prisons are full of video surveillance cameras. These images are unedited and monotonous; as neither time nor space is compressed, they are particularly well-suited to conveying the state of inactivity into which prisoners are placed as a punitive measure. The surveillance cameras show the norm and reckon with deviations from it. Clips from films by Genet and Bresson. Here the prison appears as a site of sexual infraction, a site where human beings must create themselves as people and as a workers. In Un Chant d'amour by Jean Genet, the guard looks in on inmates in their cells and sees them masturbating. The inmates are aware that they are being watched and thus become performers in a peep show. The protagonist in Bresson's Un Condamné à mort s'est échappé turns the objects of imprisonment into the tools of his escape. These topoi appear in many prison films. In newer prisons, in contrast, contemporary video surveillance technology aims at demystification. (HF quoted on

Jacques Becker, Le Trou, 1960 (131 min)

In a Paris prison cell, five inmates use every ounce of their tenacity and ingenuity in an elaborate attempt to tunnel to freedom. Based on the novel by José Giovanni, Jacques Becker’s Le trou (The Hole) balances lyrical humanism with a tense, unshakable air of imminent danger.

The Time It Takes: Le Trou and Jacques Becker by Chris Fujiwara
Le Trou by Darragh O’Donoghue

298 Camberwell New Road


Tuesday, 17 August 2010

September Screening: Autoworkers Special Part II

Focusing on the UK car industry through one vintage and two recent films:

Jean-Luc Godard, British Sounds, 1969 (55 mins)
Reel News, Visteon Workers Fighting for us All!, 2009 (20 mins)
Duncan Campbell, Make it New John, 2009 (50 mins) (TBC)

Jean-Luc Godard, British Sounds, 1969, (UK/France 54 mins)

British Sounds was made for (and then banned from) London Weekend Television. It is a documentary in style and form, but designed as a political artifact in which Godard contrives to assault the filmgoer's sensibility with a series of images and provocations. Slogans flashed on the screen are sometimes humorous, sometimes merely decorative, though Godard would deny this bourgeois reading.

Several extended scenes, such as those where Dagenham car factory workers discuss workplace relations, are crisp, simple and also an invaluable record of industrial rhetoric. Thus, the first part is a single ten minute long tracking shot of the MG (itself a bourgeois artifact) assembly line at the British Motor Car Company in Cowley, Oxford. Then, in what seems and purports to be an early attempt at 'feminist cinema' (though one constructed from a very male point of view), a nude woman walks around her apartment, chats on the phone and finally turns to face the unwinking and rather prurient camera. There's also a feminist text read over this scene but it all remains a poorly thought out shot at a less phallocentric cinema.

In the third sequence, shots of workers are intercut with a staged news broadcast running on a TV monitor and in the fifth, students at Essex University are making up radical posters and critiquing pop music. Finally, a fist punches through a Union Jack. All very agitprop and also prefiguring the admittedly less political preoccupations of the British Punk scene – still six or so years away.

From John Dawson writing for Senses of Cinema on British Sounds

Reel News, Visteon Workers Fighting for us All!, 2009

On 31st of March 2009 Ford/Visteon announced the closure of three factories in the UK and the sacking of 610 workers(1). The company was declared insolvent and put into receivership. The receivers visited all three plants; with no prior warning workers were sacked with only a few minutes notice and told only that the company had gone bust. No guarantees were given concerning redundancy or pensions payments. The management had made the workers work up to the last minute, knowing that they would not even receive any wages for their final shifts.

On the 31st workers in Belfast responded to the closure announcement by occupying their factory spontaneously. After a clash with security guards, workers secured the building and within two hours several hundred local supporters had visited the occupation. Two KPMG administrators were on the premises at the time of the occupation and refused to leave. So the workers locked them in a portakabin - where they apparently stayed for 36 hours with no food, before finally agreeing to leave! Such pointless dedication to their job... Some managers' cars also remained locked in the occupation.

Having heard the news about Belfast, the Basildon (Essex), and Enfield (north London) Visteon plants also occupied the next day. The Basildon plant contained no stock or machinery of much value to the company; so the workers trashed the site offices. A group of riot cops appeared and the workers were 'pursuaded' to end their occupation, presumably under the threat of 'leave or you'll be nicked for criminal damage'. They then began 24hr picketing of the plant.

Reel News #18 Visteon Occupation Trailer:

Duncan Campbell,
Make it New John, 2009

Make it new John tells the story of the DeLorean car, its creator John DeLorean and the workers of the Belfast-based car plant who built it. The film deftly contrasts the DeLorean dream with its spectacular downfall during a critical period in Northern Ireland's history, and the canonisation of the car – the DMC12 – as a symbol of the American myth of mobility.

The son of an immigrant Romanian foundry worker, John DeLorean possessed a natural talent for engineering which took him to the top of Chevrolet, General Motors' most important division. Leaving this behind he persuaded the British Government to back his new venture – building a factory in Dunmurry in Belfast to produce a new sports car. Almost immediately beset by financial difficulties and allegations of embezzlement, DeLorean's attempts to keep the factory open became increasingly desperate and corrupt, eventually leading to his arrest by the FBI. The factory - which employed 2000 workers - closed in 1982, having produced just over 9000 cars.

Campbell fuses a documentary aesthetic with fictive moments, using existing archive news and documentary footage from the 1980s as well as new 16mm footage which imagines conversations between DeLorean factory workers.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

July screening: Grunwick Dispute 1976-78 Film Special

Sunday 25th July, 6pm
56A Infoshop

Selections from films on the 1976-78 Grunwick Strike:

Year of the Beaver
Dave Fox, Steve Sprung, Sylvia Stevens, 1985

Stand Together
Newsreel Collective, 1977

Look back at Grunwick
Newsreel Collective, 1978

The Great Grunwick Strike 1976-1978: a history
Chris Thomas, 2008

The screening will be introduced by former member of the Newsreel Collective, Noreen MacDowell

***Please Note time change 6pm***

The East African migrants settling in London in the early 1970s were educated in English, and held British rather than Indian citizenship, but they faced a struggle to establish their families in London’s unwelcoming society. In spite of their middle-class background, many women, determined to contribute to their families’ well-being and their children’s futures, accepted low-paid factory and manual work. Whilst these women were willing to accept low status employment, they were unwilling to accept the degrading treatment typically meted out to “unskilled” “Black” immigrants in London’s workplaces. When a group of workers, led by the now renowned Jayaben Desai, walked out of a photo processing laboratory in the hot summer of 1976 in protest against arbitrary and humiliating management, their aim was to defend their dignity and their rights.

Having joined the white collar union APEX (Association of Professional, Executive, Clerical and Computer Staff) their demands came to be centred on the right to union recognition and collective bargaining. The cause of the Grunwick strikers was taken up by the wider Trade Union movement of the day, with mass solidarity picketing from even the most masculine and militant of unions, including the miners.

When the Union of Postal Workers voted to boycott mailings from Grunwick – on which the firm depended to reach its client base – victory seemed within their grasp. Following failed attempts at mediation by ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), the government-appointed Scarman Inquiry recommended both union recognition and re-instatement of the workers. Grunwick, backed by the right- wing National Association For Freedom (NAFF), rejected these recommendations. The TUC (Trade Union Congress) and APEX retreated from mass picketing and effectively withdrew their support. Jayaben Desai and supporters mounted a hunger strike outside the TUC HQ in November 1977 but ultimately the strike committee announced the end of the dispute in June 1978, without having obtained their goals, leaving the women feeling abandoned and disillusioned with the trade union movement.


The Grunwick Strike - A. Sivanandan (Race & Class, Vol. 19, no. 1, summer 1977)

An essay written during the middle of the Grunwicks strike in Willesden, north-west London. A predominatly east African Asian female workforce went on strike against poor conditions and for union recognition.

There were mass pickets, sometimes violent, in support of the strikers. They eventually became disillusioned with the half-hearted and obstructive role of the unions and, towards the end of the defeated strike, conducted a hunger strike/picket outside the TUC headquarters.

From 'A Different Hunger', A. Sivanandan, Pluto Press, 1982.
(A. Sivanandan - Race & Class, Vol. 19, no. 1, summer 1977.)

Two recent events have further elucidated the strategies of the state vis-a-vis the black community and, more especially, the black section of the working class, first analysed in 'Race, class and the state' over a year ago. One is the House of Commons Select Committee Report on the West Indian Community and the other is the 10-month-old strike of Asian workers at the Grunwick Film Processing plant in Willesden in North London. Of these, the Grunwick issue is the more complex and confusing and, if only for those reasons, the more challenging of analysis - however risky the exercise of writing history even as it is being made.

Grunwick processes photographic films and relies a great deal on the mail-order business. It is estimated that around 90 per cent of those on the processing side are Asians, many of them women and most of them from East Africa. The strikers first walked out when a worker was sacked after being forced to do a job he could not possibly do in the time alloted for it. This was typical of the punitive, racist and degrading way in which the management treated the workforce. The strikers, on the advice of the local trades council, joined APEX (the Association of Professional Executive Clerical and Computer Staff). The employers, however, refused to recognise the union and the strike has now centred on the question of union recognition by management - since union recognition is a prerequisite to raising the wages from the exceptionally low figure of £25 for a 35-hour week.

The strike has received widespread union support, which is in certain respects unique in the history of British trade unionism. Not only has full strike pay from APEX been forthcoming from the very beginning, but also other national unions, e.g. Transport and General Workers Union, the Union of Post Office Workers (UPW), the Trades Union Congress (TUC), and through their encouragement hundreds of local union branches, shop stewards committees, trades councils and others, have given financial and other support. Not only did Len Murray, General Secretary of the TUC, intervene personally in the dispute, but cabinet ministers have themselves been to the picket lines to give their support. After a certain amount of pressure, the UPW took the almost unprecendented step of introducing a postal ban. Although this lasted only four days in the event, it hit management hard since it relies on the mail-order side for 60 per cent of its business.

At first it looked as though Grunwick was to be the rallying point for the labour movement to prove its commitment to black workers. But what is more apparent now is that the unions have been carefully determining the direction that the strike should take and the type of actions open to the strikers. It is worth recalling here the comments of George Bromley, a union negotiator for 30 years with London Transport, who in 1974, during the Imperial Typewriters strike of Asian workers, said, 'The workers have not followed the proper dispute procedures. They have no legitimate grievances and it's difficult to know what they want... Some people must learn how things are done'.

The 'proper procedures' have in this case certainly been taught - and followed to the bureaucratic letter. When the right-wing National Association For Freedom threatened legal action against the postal boycott[1], the UPW capitulated, arguing to the strikers that they had persuaded management to go to arbitration to the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS). But when ACAS called for a ballot of the workforce, management sought to limit it to those still at work and not the strikers - so discrediting the ACAS procedure and the Employment Protection Act within which it operates. Similar bureaucratic procedures, such as appeals to the Industrial Tribunal and recourse to government investigation, have proved equally futile - and, worse, delayed the possibility of effective solidarity action. It was six months before ACAS's report (in favour of the strikers) finally came out. Nor has the UPW reintroduced its ban, despite its promise to do so once the report was out.

On the other hand, the unions have induced the strikers to stay out by almost doubling their strike pay. But while the unions are keen to keep the strike going at all costs, the strikers themselves have begun to question the conduct and purpose of' the unions' support. According to Mrs Desai, treasurer of the strike committee, `If the TUC wanted, this strike could be won tomorrow.' The workers are belatedly resorting to tactics they urged in the first place, such as picketing local chemists shops (from which Grunwick's trade also comes) and organising 24-hour pickets.

Asian workers have over the last two decades proved to be one of the most militant sections of the working class. In strike after strike - Woolf's, Perivale Gutermann, Mansfield Hosiery, Imperial Typewriters, Harwood Cash and others - they have not only taken on the employers and sometimes won (limited) victories, but have also battled against racist trade unions which have either dragged their feet or quite often denied them the support they would have afforded white workers. The Imperial Typewriters case was the most blatant. In May 1974 Asians at Imperial Typewriters (a subsidairy of Litton Industries) went on strike over differentials between white and Asian workers. The unions refused their support and the strikers, supported by other black workers, had to fight both union and management (bolstered by the extreme right-wing party, the National Front).

Over the Grunwick dispute, however, the unions have been unusually supportive of the Asian workforce. Some commentators on the left have traced the union change of direction to a sudden change of heart: it had come upon them (the unions) that racism was a bad thing and should be outlawed from within their ranks. But why this 'change of heart'?

In the first instance, of course, the basis of the Grunwick dispute is the unionisation of the workforce and it is therefore in the interests of the unions (and indeed their business) to recruit workers into their organisations. This is the most obvious reason for union support of the strike. But the inordinate anxiety to unionise the workers must be seen in the larger context of government-trade union collaboration in the Social Contract.

In effect what the government says to the workers in the Social Contract is: 'we are in a time of great economic crisis, with increasing inflation and galloping unemployment. The only way we are going to solve the problem is by keeping wages down. But we can do this only with your agreement to put up with hardships. So if you agree not to use your power of collective action (the only power you really have to improve your conditions) we will in turn see that you are protected from the employers taking advantage of your restraint. We will, in return for your abandoning the right to collective bargaining, give you statutory safeguards to keep the employers at bay.' Hence the Employment Protection Act 1975, the Trade Union and Labour Relations Acts of 1974 and 1976, the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Equal Pay Act 1970 (enforced in 1975). And, more recently, Michael Foot, Leader of the House of Commons, has inveighed against the judiciary for its apparent anti-union bias. 'If the freedom of the people of this country - and especially the rights of trade unionists - had been left to the good sense and fairmindedness of judges, we would have precious few freedoms in this country.'

The Grunwick dispute, if the other Asians strikes are anything to go by, threatens to blow a hole, however small, in the Social Contract, and in the circumstances (of the rank and file of' the working class clearly jibbing at a further extension of the Social Contract), one swallow could easily make a summer! To bring the dispute within the Social Contract framework it is necessary to unionise the Asian strikers. But to unionise a black workforce, it is first necessary to take a stand against racial discrimination. It is necessary to speak to the workers' first and overwhelming 'disability'. 'The strike,' said Mrs Desai, 'is not so much about pay, it is a strike about human dignity.' Hence, if the unions are to win the confidence of the strikers, and of black workers in general, they have to take an unequivocal stand against the employer's racist practices. Besides, it is the very fact of colour that has, as so many times before, lent a political dimension to the struggle of the Grunwick strikers - and the unions, as so many times before, are anxious to keep that dimension out, particularly in view of the Social Contract. Additionally, in the overall strategy of the state, the management of racism in employment has, since the strikes of 1972-74, been handed over to the trades unions (and not to the Community Relations Commission).

Now that the state has decided that the social and political cost of racism has begun - in the objective circumstances - to outweigh its economic profitability (see 'Race, Class and the State'), the unions are equally anxious to contribute to that effort.

In fact as far back as the TUC Conference in September 1976, APEX General Secretary, Roy Grantham, spoke about the Grunwick dispute in the context of the Government White Paper on Racial Discrimination, which heralded the Race Relations Act. The Act itself, passed in November 1976, is very concerned with employment and in fact extends the application of the new employment laws' complaints procedures to the area of racial discrimination. This Act, unlike previous race relations acts, has full union backing.

This support for the new legislation has been accompanied by increased interest and concern about race relations within the trade union bureaucracies since the 1972-4 period of disputes. After the Mansfield Hosiery strike there followed a whole spate of strikes throughout the East Midlands involving Asian workers in dispute not only with management, but usually with the union and fellow white workers too. Strike committees of different factories supported each other, workers were learning from the examples set in neighbouring cities, local black communities supported the strikers, there was serious debate about the need to set up black trades unions. It is since then that we find proposals for special training on shop steward courses, the establishment of race relations departments in national unions and the TUC and the production of a TUC model equal opportunity clause for contracts. And, more recently, a government race relations employment advisory group has been set up on which the TUC and ACAS, as well as the Confederation of British Industry and the Commission for Racial Equality, will be represented.

But the management of racism in employment is not the only thing that has been left to the unions' care. They have also been entrusted with the task of selling the Employment Protection Act to the workforce as a whole. The Grunwick dispute encompasses both these functions.
What we have, therefore, is not a`change of heart' but a change of tactics - to ordain, legitimise and continue the joint strategies of the state and union leaders against the working class - through the Social Contract.

[1.] Under the 1953 Post Office Act, which prohibits 'interference with the mail'.


Slides of Grunwick on the Guardian website:

Monday, 7 June 2010

June Screening: Description of a Bankruptcy

파산의 기술記述 | Description of a Bankrutpcy
Lee Kang Hyun, 2006

+ South Korean labour shorts

With invited speaker Haeyoung Song

Sunday 27th June, 5pm
At 56A Infoshop

'If you ask for my life, I will stab you in the heart'

Four black and white camera angles of a subway station; no sound. A train arrives, people get on and off. The lights of the next train shine from the tunnel. An agitated man descends onto the tracks. His final moments are recorded in monochrome, 15 frames per second, 13, 14, 15.

In 2006's “The Description of Bankruptcy”, director Lee Kang Hyun carries forward the haunting violence of this moment, the despair of an anonymous fate and the events which would compel it to provoke a reflection on the financial crisis of 1997. Images of Seoul are overlapped with radio channel chatter, news reports stream lifestyle advice atop cityscapes. Everyday life passes amongst industrial scenes; an industrial press rapidly stamps paper. One man relates his success story: 'got betting only 100 won', another voice implores us to be mindful of the future: 'If you want to need a wise eye to see your outcomes critically'. Traffic passes through Seoul, and more advice: 'People who don't smile a lot have wrinkles in their face', now a stone-faced man stacks papers in a printing machine, his gloves are stained red. ' out loud as much as you can. One who smiles a lot also has less chance for mental illnesses such as hypochondria.' Workers steam-press clothing in a factory while the radio confidently declares: 'The time has come when all power comes from the people....

In economically burgeoning South Korea, individuals are expendable. Rhythmical editing and dryly ironic narration convert the arid wind evaporating individuality from society into a visual guerilla poem.

You hear so many horrible accidents and crimes from TV and newspapers. But they don't surprise you any more. You may think they are just a part of your daily life. Since around 2000 in Korea, there have been tons of strange murders. There are no killers and no suspects, but people are murdered every day. Someone calls them, "social murders". However, these everyday terrible crimes do not shock anybody. They are just filling a small corner of a newspaper. No alarms and no surprises. No efforts to stop them. What has thrown you into such a dead apathy?

Soap dramas are still attracting many people all over the world. It means old orders are so strong and sturdy that they are moving the world even after they seem to have disappeared.

A pamphlet created on the occasion of this screening is available here:

Recent radio interview (Sept 2010) with Loren Goldner on the making of the Korean working class:

Monday, 26 April 2010

MAY's SCREENING: The All Round Reduced Personality

The All Round Reduced Personality (Reduper), Helke Sander 1978.

Sunday May 30th at 5PM
At 56a Infoshop

Great article here from JUMP CUT: here

Tuesday, 13 April 2010



Sunday 23 May 5 – 11pm

195 Mare Street Social Centre

Full Unemployment Cinema presents a new documentary film on workers struggles in Faridabad, Gurgaon and other areas of Delhi's industrial belt.

6 - 8pm
Developing Unrest: Workers' Struggle in Gurgaon - One of India's Miserable Boom Cities
Film screening and discussion with speaker from Gurgaon Workers News

8 – 11pm
Music from Full Unemployment Cinema DJs
Bashment, dubstep, mbalax, dancehall and more

This is a benefit for Short Fuse Press and Full Unemployment Cinema for more about these London based self-organised and autonomous projects follow the links below

Entrance free but donations welcome

Film Screening and Debate

Developing Unrest: Workers' Struggle in Gurgaon - One of India's Miserable Boom Cities

Gurgaon, a satellite town in the south of Delhi became the symbol of 'Shining India'. In the industrial areas of Gurgaon a very particular class composition emerged. Hundred of thousands migrant garment workers work next to the assembly lines of India's biggest automobile hub and next to hundred thousand young workers sweating under the head-sets of Gurgaon's call centres.

Due to the real estate boom which catapulted local farmers out of their fields into land-lordism and business a specific coalition of local political class, land-lords, labour contractors, police and company-hired local goons became a repressive front ready to quell expressions of workers' unrest. This local front of ruling class is complemented by a faceless front of multi-national investment and central government policies.

Many traditional strikes of the minoritarian permanent work-force end up in mass lock-outs. A new generation of casual workers is forced to take direct action: during recent years wildcat strikes and factory occupations shook the major auto plants and garment factories.

Since the early 1980s small group of unorthodox communists publish a monthly workers' newspaper 'Faridabad Majdoor Samachar' in nearby Faridabad, documenting workers' experiences and asking questions of how to build non-hierarchical collectivities of mutual aid and subversion against the machine. Currently they try to open meeting spaces with workers in Faridabad, Gurgaon and other areas of Delhi's industrial belt.

We want to screen a recently finished documentary on proletarian experiences in Gurgaon. A comrade involved in GurgaonWorkersNews will share his impressions after several longer stays in the region. We hope to contribute to the debate about how 'international proletarian support' could look like, what kind of role can a 'workers' newspaper' or a 'form of organisation' play today.

Monday, 5 April 2010

APRIL's SCREENING: Office Killer

SUNDAY APRIL 25th at 5pm
At 56a Infoshop

Office Killer, Cindy Sherman 1997 (82 mins)

Setting up a group of people of the most uninteresting kind - office
workers - at first the plot seems bland and commonplace. Dorine, an
innocuous-looking young woman with owlish eyes hiding behind thick glasses
and wearing outdated dresses, gives the impression of both innocence and
ineptitude, especially of the kind that results from being trampled under.

The weekly magazine she works for is currently downsizing, meaning Dorine from now on will have to do part of her work at home, on a laptop computer she barely knows how to handle. The only denizens of her furniture-bare apartment are a grouchy invalid mother and a mouse-hunting cat, both diabolical. Dorine is seen dropping a dead mouse down a garbage disposer.

She pronounces her words as a robot first learning to speak English would,elongating the vowels and crisply spitting out the consonants. She is the joke at the office, considered no less than retarded, useful but disposable, barely a female and only borderline human.

Her co-workers, elegant women with boyfriends, tempers, and super-charged ambitions, include Norah Reed (Jeanne Trippleton), Kim Poole (Molly Ringwald), and Vriginia Wingate (Barbara Sukowa), whose asthma condition compels her to
constantly breathe into a tube. In this competitive woman's world, the last will become first, and it is Dorine, the one trampled under, who will eventually dominate.

(SPOILER ALERT!!! skip the next paragraph if you are concerned with plot and narrative!)

Dorine's metamorphosis occurs without warning, with the suddenness of an eruption. One night at the office, she is called upon to do late work, her computer breaks down and she asks the help of a co-worker, Gary Michaels (David Thornton), who is electrocuted while trying to fix the wires. Dorine dials 911, but hangs up when the call is answered. She places the corpse on a cart, rolls it down to her car, loads it in her trunk, and takes it home, placing it in her furnished basement (we don't see the body until later).

Then, seemingly without reason, she goes into a murder spree. (...)

The movie does not analyze Dorine directly but it gets a bit heavy-handed when it tries to establish cause and effect by showing flashbacks of Dorine's relationship to her parents, especially her father, a domineering tyrant and child molester. Dorine had murdered her father, pulling at his hand while he was driving and trying to fondle her knee. Her mother was paralyzed because of that incident. These scenes, which show a young vindictive, intelligent, and vicious Dorine (Rachel Aviva), connect poorly with the overall flow of the story - seeming intrusions rather than explanations of insanity.

That Dorine is mad is evident in her hallucinatory visions of corpses-of those she murdered-come to life and perform a macabre dance in her furnished basement, her necrophiliac's paradise. Her murders are not motivated by revenge-for why would she kill the girl scouts? They are rather the necessary conditions for a new state of being for Dorine, of a life with the dead, who provide a companionship unmolested by pettiness and frustration. With this film, Cindy Sherman heralds a promising career, offering a feat of imagination practically unheard of since the days of Robert Browning ("Porphyria's Lover") and Edgar Allan Poe ("Lygeia"), two nineteenth century writers who understood intuitively the inner workings of a mad mind.

by Constantine Santas
From Sense of Cinema

Monday, 29 March 2010


Here it is cinéastes and slackers, the amazing next nine months of scheduled films for Full Unemployment Cinema.

APRIL 25th at 5pm
Office Killer (Cindy Sherman, 1997) + Semiotics of the Kitchen (Martha Rosler, 1975)

MAY 30th at 5pm
The All-Round Reduced Personality (Helke Sander, 1978)

JUNE 27th at 5pm

Description of A Bankruptcy (Lee Kang Hyun, 2006) + South Korean labour shorts + Speaker

JULY 25th at 5pm

Grunwick Dispute 1977 Film Special (Newsreel Collective, 1977) and Speaker

Holiday - No Film this month!!

SEPT 26th at 5pm
UK Car Industry Special! Make It New, John (Duncan Campbell, 2009) + Visteon film + other shorts

OCT 31st at 5pm
Prison Images (Harun Farocki, 2000) + prison shorts plus Speaker

NOV 28th at 5pm
Hour Of The Furnaces (Octavio Getino + Fernando Solanas, 1968)

DEC 19th at 5pm

(one week earlier than usual)
Zombies! Undead Capital and Labour (maybe!!) Send ideas!!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

MARCH's SCREENING - Coup Pour Coup (Blow For Blow)

SUNDAY MARCH 28th at 5pm
At 56a Infoshop

Coup Pour Coup, Marin Karmitz 1972 (89 mins)

Plus we will knock together a short aftertalk on Coup Pour Coup, Karmitz, La Gauche Prolétarienne and other wacky 70's French (ex)Maoists.

'Marin Karmitz's 1972 Coup pour Coup (Blow for Blow), a film about a group of women mounting a successful strike at a textiles factory, the nature of work is clear: there is exploitation (long hours, sexual harassment, physical exertion and foremen and women whose job it is to prevent you from slacking off), there is a site (the factory itself, which becomes a fortress complete with ad hoc crèche, kitchen and sleeping quarters during the strike) and there is an enemy (the boss himself, who is later held hostage in his office and forbidden to use the toilet, as the women themselves had been). The final scene is a freeze-frame of the workers united in struggle accompanied by a voice-over extolling the virtues of continued resistance'.

'Karmitz's film tries directly to bypass the social and cinematic obstacles to present a realistic picture of both work and the struggle against work – the actors consist of an effective combination of real strikers and film extras in equal measures, and the alphabetical list of names at the end includes the director as merely one name amongst others. It is a genuine attempt to undercut the non-egalitarian nature of most cinematic production and present a didactic model of social resistance at the same time'.

Taken from a longer essay on Inifinite Thought blog here

Voiceover from the film:
You thought that we were only women
But you were forced to give in.
Agnes and Colette will stay with us.
Things will be different now. We will have a say.
Your foremen aren’t so arrogant. And for good reason!
No more of your secret negotiations.
You’ll have to accept what we impose.
We know you haven’t swallowed your sequestration.
We know you’ll try to fire workers.
You and your press cried scandal.
You’ll try to eliminate what you call the troublemakers.
Don’t forget that your great victory is the unity we forged with our own strength.
Unity with our husbands, who are now aware of our struggle.
Unity with other factories.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

FEBRUARY's SCREENING - Part-Time Work of a Domestic Slave

At 56a Infoshop

Part-Time Work of a Domestic Slave
by Alexander Kluge, 1973 (91 mins)

Gelegenheitsarbeit einer Sklavin (German with English subtitles)

Roswitha (Alexandra Kluge) has been supporting her family, including her student husband, by performing illegal abortions. Police pressure makes it too dangerous for her to continue doing this, and her husband is forced to go to work in a factory. When she hears that the factory is about to be closed and moved to Portugal (an early example of a cheaper-labor move), she attempts to rally the workers of the factory....

The sixth feature film by Alexander Kluge, architect of the New German Cinema, is also one of his most remarkable. Once again, Kluge works with Godardian distanciation devices (voice-over commentary, intertitles) to playfully examine a social problem, specifically women's liberation. The director's sister, Alexandra, plays the titular domestic slave, a young housewife, mother, part-time abortionist, and would-be labor activist who is repressed by the strictures of family, society, and history.

Through the presentation of women in his films, Kluge hopes to present an alternative mode of production. This is based not on rationalised modes of industrial production that have come to govern our lives since the advent of the industrial and technological revolutions, but on a female productive force (not to be equated with pure biological reproduction). He believes this force is manifested by women in their constant struggle against patriarchal social and political structures such as archaic laws that effectively maintain control over, and attempt to contain and limit, women's bodies and desires. (18) Kluge's theorisation of a female productive force and his female protagonists, I believe, serve as a refreshing antidote to the dominant cinema's representation of active, desiring women as evil femmes fatales simultaneously desired and feared by men. Kluge's women possess agency as they playfully negotiate their own way through the public sphere on their own terms.


Film Times: Doors open 5pm - All films begin at 5.30pm!!

56a Infoshop
56 Crampton Street
SE17 3AE

Suggested reading:

Extract from
Precarious Labor: A Feminist Viewpoint
by Silvia Federici

Feminists in the seventies tried to understand the roots of women’s oppression, of women’s exploitation and gender hierarchies. They describe them as stemming from a unequal division of labor forcing women to work for the reproduction of the working class. This analysis was basis of a radical social critique, the implications of which still have to be understood and developed to their full potential.

When we said that housework is actually work for capital, that although it is unpaid work it contributes to the accumulation of capital, we established something extremely important about the nature of capitalism as a system of production. We established that capitalism is built on an immense amount of unpaid labor, that it not built exclusively or primarily on contractual relations; that the wage relation hides the unpaid, slave -like nature of so much of the work upon which capital accumulation is premised.

Also, when we said that housework is the work that reproduces not just “life,” but “labor-power,” we began to separate two different spheres of our lives and work that seemed inextricably connected. We became able to conceive of a fight against housework now understood as the reproduction of labor-power, the reproduction of the most important commodity capital has: the worker’s “capacity to work,” the worker’s capacity to be exploited. In other words, by recognizing that what we call “reproductive labor” is a terrain of accumulation and therefore a terrain of exploitation, we were able to also see reproduction as a terrain of struggle, and, very important, conceive of an anti-capitalist struggle against reproductive labor that would not destroy ourselves or our communities.

How do you struggle over/against reproductive work? It is not the same as struggling in the traditional factory setting, against for instance the speed of an assembly line, because at the other end of your struggle there are people not things. Once we say that reproductive work is a terrain of struggle, we have to first immediately confront the question of how we struggle on this terrain without destroying the people you care for. This is a problem mothers as well as teachers and nurses, know very well.

This is why it is crucial to be able to make a separation between the creation of human beings and our reproduction of them as labor-power, as future workers, who therefore have to be trained, not necessarily according to their needs and desires, to be disciplined and regimented in a particular fashion.

It was important for feminists to see, for example, that much housework and child rearing is work of policing our children, so that they will conform to a particular work discipline. We thus began to see that by refusing broad areas of work, we not only could liberate ourselves but could also liberate our children. We saw that our struggle was not at the expense of the people we cared for, though we may skip preparing some meals or cleaning the floor. Actually our refusal opened the way for their refusal and the process of their liberation.

Once we saw that rather than reproducing life we were expanding capitalist accumulation and began to define reproductive labor as work for capital, we also opened the possibility of a process of re-composition among women.

Monday, 1 February 2010



The European Studies Research Students Seminar is glad to invite you to the screening of:

### Accattone ("The Procurer") - by Pier Paolo Pasolini (1961)
### Original Italian version with English subtitles

### Monday, 22. February 2010, 5pm
### Room FS2, Film Studies Department, Strand Campus


### La classe operaia va in paradiso ("The working class goes to heaven") - by Elio Petri (1971) ### Original Italian version with English subtitles

### Monday, 22. March 2010, 5pm
### Room FS2, Film Studies Department, Strand Campus

All welcome!

Please forward to interested people.



Pasolini's first movie delves into the grey areas of the Italian "economic miracle" of the Fifties-Sixties. The pimp Vittorio Accattone has never worked a day in his life...

Our new 2010 Film Series, "Italian Cinema at Work", aims to present a brief overview of how Italian Cinema has approached an important but too often neglected theme: work.

"Italian Cinema at Work" will thus try to show the way in which Italian film-makers have represented the thematic of work and labour from World War II to the present.

The series will be organised in three parts.

The first part will look at how Neo-realism investigated post-WWII Italian society, characterised by reconstruction, capitalistic economic development and the imposition of wage labour discipline (e.g. De Sica's "Ladri di Biciclette", 1948).

The second part will focus on Fordism and factory work, underlying how this affected the physical and mental conditions of the labour force and emphasising workers' militant response during the cycle of struggles of the sixties and seventies (e.g. Petri's "La classe operaia va in paradiso", 1971).

Finally, the third part will analyse how the working process has changed in recent decades, giving rise to the fragmentation and precarisation of labour and to new forms of protest, such as the experience of the workers of the call centre "Atesia" in the periphery of Rome (Celestini's "Parole Sante", 2007).

The transition from one period to the next will be carried out though an ‘intermezzo - movie’, where everyday difficulties are approached with irony (e.g. by the character interpreted by Paolo Villaggio in"Fantozzi", 1975), nevertheless maintaining an underlying critical attitude.

The movies will be screened every two weeks in original Italian version with English subtitles.

Due to the difficulties in finding English subtitles for all the movies, the program is likely subjected to change – we will however
do our best to maintain the original aim of the series intact.