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Friday, November 5, 2010

Social Justice Film Picks

Dear Reader, a more mundane post this time, less poetic and less sweeping. I simply wanted to give you my picks for films that touch on the subjects at hand in this blog.  These are not necessarily the "best films" but are the ones appropriate to the issues at hand.

1. Wall Street.  This film shows what has been wrong with run away capitalism in the post Vietnam War America.
2. Sugar Can Alley. French with English subtitles, from the caribean island of Martinique.  The story of a boy growing up living by the cane fields, living with his grandmother, who is determined he will rise above their poverty through education.
3. Our Daily Bread.  One of the New York Times 10 best films in 1934. A depressions ear look at attempts at Utopian community.
4. Of Mice and Men, from the Steinbeck novel.  A look at the dreams and hopes of those who labor as farmworkers.
5. Enron, The Smartest Guys in then Room.  A documentary on the canary in the mine that was ignored, leading to our present situation.
6. There Will Be Blood. A more brutally honest film about greed even than Wall Street. Staring Daniel Day Lewis. Brilliant.
7. Fleabag. A rare documentary on an old hotel for the destitute.
8. The City, or La Cuidad.  Three shots together about the problems of hispanic immigrants in the United States.
9. Entertaining Angels.  A dramatization of the life of Dorothy Day, of the Catholic Workers.
10.Grapes of Wrath, the winner of 2 Academy Awards in 1940. From Stienbecks novel with Henry Fonda.  An enduring classic.
11. Matewan.  By director John Sayles, about the struggles of coal miners.
12. Jean de Florette. French in subtitles.  A film G.K. Chesterton would have loved because it shows that equality and rural property are not necessarily opposed.  A case for distributist economics can be made from this film.
13. Manon of the Spring.  The sequel to the preceding film.
14. Amistad. A great film about the aftermath of a rebellion on a slave ship in the middle passage.
15. Salt of the Earth.  The only film every blacklisted in the United States. About a strike in a New Mexican mining town in 1953.
16. The Wobblies, a film about the first major industrial union in the United States, the IWW.
17 Francesco. With Mickey Rouke.   A film about St Francis, which I include here for it's scenes of St. Francis caring for the lepers
18. Molakai.  A film about Fr. Damien caring for the lepers.
19. On the Nickel.  About down and out alcoholics in LA's skidrow.
20. The Long Walk Home.  A film about the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
21. El Norte. A great film about the struggles of undocumented workers.  I first saw it in a roomful of undocumented workers who appreciated it very much.

If you want to know more about what this blogger thinks about film go to my arts blog, Notes, Jots, Flicks at

I hope some of you have your own picks , especially films about the unemployed about the Catholic take on social justice. Please post suggestions in the comments. Thank you.

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