Day 5 at the London @LabourFilmFest – Women’s Day, Burn and some heckling!


Finally some heckling; no labour movement event is complete without it!

Women’s Day was introduced by another Labour Party drone hoping to head to the dreamland of the European Parliament in a few weeks.  One of the things that strikes me about this festival is how stark the difference is between the inspiring films shown and the totally uninspiring politicians we have.  It’s the stories of ordinary workers that have set my mind racing.  The idea that the Labour Party with it’s dedication to austerity, cuts and neoliberal economics is on the same billing as films such as Trash Dance or Big Society the Musical is a joke.  The amazing thing about many of the films on the list is that they’re about working people doing extraordinary things to transform lives or being denied the opportunity in the process.  Our politicians are lacklustre in contrast.

Women’s Day is an odd film.  The central character gets a promotion to supermarket manager and then starts acting shitty to her staff.  The film only really gets going when she finds herself cutting corners to get results which ends up in her breaking the law.  She claims she felt pressured to do so.  Unfortunately we’ve already seen her screw the regional manager to get in his good books and she generally acts without a great deal of integrity.  Maybe that’s the point: becoming a manager can change you.  I don’t know but the character development didn’t really work for me but maybe that’s because I wanted to empathise with her..

Burn was introduced by someone from the FBU who were on strike today as it happened.  This is where the heckling comes in.  A lady came in late and demanded to know why the labour movement is giving in and why strikes aren’t going far enough.  On the one hand I’m thinking I want to watch this movie, shut up and on the other I’m thinking this is the question we all need to ask.  The FBU man got the answer wrong.  According to him what we all need to do is elect politicians who will fund public services.  So once again we have films about people doing stuff for themselves and helping each other and yet once again we have a ‘leader’ telling us to invest in the very hierarchy that holds us back.

Burn finally came on and it’s a remarkable year in the life of the Detroit Fire Department.  Detroit is a city in decline. Homes become vacant as families leave, industry crumbles but the city goes on.  We meet the men and women who put the fires out battling the flames and a lack of resources with determination and humour.  It’s good stuff and particularly well shot considering the danger of some of the footage.  It tells us about what happens when a city declines in population and finance.  It shows the decisions that are taken by those in senior positions when money is tight.  These are are decisions that affect lives.

Finally there was this wonderful little advert.

It’s been a great week really.  I think I was the only person to go to every single film which says a lot about my life but I’ve genuinely enjoyed it and learnt such a lot by the issues in the films. I’ve also enjoyed being grumpy and sarcastic in these posts – little things please little minds..  Here’s to the festival in 2015!

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