Browsed by
Month: July 2011

Class: Pivot Points

Class: Pivot Points

The Lacemaker, by Jan Vermeer. 1671

Made in Dagenham is an inspirational film, based upon real events in England in 1968. It depicts the struggles of Labor in its quest to achieve decent, living wages and some modicum of respect and dignity. At the center of the story is the plight of female sewing machinists in a Ford factory, who had been classified as unskilled in order to keep corporate costs down. They bravely went on strike, and helped change the face of labor laws for all British women in the process.

Sally Hawkins plays Rita O’Grady, a working class woman who takes on a leadership role among the sewing machinists, and helps spearhead the strike and an eventual meeting with Secretary of State Barbara Castle, played by Miranda Richardson. The film centers on the difficult, complex dynamic between men and women within the Labor movement — a much stronger movement then than now — primarily through the story of … Click to continue . . .

Class Act

Class Act

Three recent film viewings merge and amplify basic truths made visual in each. Three recent viewings of British films make clear an ironic dynamic: The British have long had a class-based society, but understood that and worked to reduce its effects. America has always had one as well, a class-based society for the wealthy, but has great difficulty admitting this, and will be forever trapped inside it if it does not see that trap for what it is.

Made in Dagenham, Gosford Park and Never Let me go make up the trinity in question. All three movies shine a light on the fundamental absurdity of our system. The accident of birth is paramount. Far more than any amount of “hard work” or “merit” or “virtue” or intelligence, it is the prime determinant of our social and economic status at the end of the day. Nothing is more essential in setting us on our present or future course or constructing our … Click to continue . . .