We know what ‘all work and no play’ makes us…

The AFL-CIO has an interesting exhibit right now: posters from films which celebrate Working Class Heroes. Every now and then I will post a few of the film titles included in the exhibition so you can check them out when you’re in need of some Big Screen respite from the Daily Grind.

Here are a few to add to your ‘To Watch’ list:

  • 10,000 Black Men Named George (2002)
    This true story shows how much harder the Great Depression was if you were poor and black. Working for the railroad, you could forget being called by your real name — all black porters were simply called “George,” after George Pullman, the first person to employ emancipated slaves. Asa Philip Randolph agreed to fight for the Pullman porters’ cause and form the first black union in America.
  • 9 to 5 (1980, Colin Higgins)
    Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda are fed up with abuse from their rampantly male chauvinist employer, Dabny Coleman.  When they kidnap the boss and take control of the office, productivity and profits rise.
  • Baran (2001, Majid Majidi)
    At an Iranian construction site where Afghan refugees are illegally employed, an Afghan teenage girl poses an a boy to obtain work after her father is disabled from a fall due to unsafe conditions.  A young Iranian worker resents the new employee until he discovers her secret and falls in love.  The story follows his heroic and, at times, outlandish efforts to protect her from the vicissitudes of the workplace and the immigration police.
  • Billy Elliot (2000, Stephen Daldry)
    BillyElliot, the eleven year old son of a coal miner, finds that ballet is his passion and he secretly skips boxing lessons to study dance.  It’s a difficult time for the family – his father and brother are out on the picket line (the story takes place during the 1984-85 British miners strike).  When Billy’s father learns of the ballet class, he’s furious.  A devoted teacher intervenes, but when Billy’s brother is arrested, it seems he’ll miss the opportunity of a lifetime – an auditon to attend the Royal Ballet School.
  • Bread and Roses (2000, Ken Loach)
    After a perilous illegal border crossing, a young Mexican woman plays a central role in organizing the janitors of a major Los Angeles office building. She falls in love with a brash young organizer and learns the terrible price her older sister paid to help support the family in Mexico.