The award-winning 1983 documentary is about union workers fighting closure of a Chicago rail car plant. Capturing the workers’ struggle against elected officials, the Pullman-Standard Company and the national union, the 28-year-old film couldn’t be more relevant than in today’s harsh economic times.
A new DVD feature shows the film’s main subjects emotionally returning to the building of the former plant to watch the film with an invited audience. One workingman from this audience asks them what lessons can he learn from their experience: “You know we have to start supporting people and the political arena that supports the working class,” one of the film’s subjects firmly answers.
Set to air on PBS Independent Lens on Monday November 5th, Kartemquin's next release is As Goes Janesville, a co-production with 371 Productions.
Well ahead of that broadcast on the eve of the 2012 Election, the film - which depicts the struggles of business leaders and union workers to rebuild their lives and the town's finances after the 2008 closure of a GM plant - has been thrust into Wisconsin's turbulent political debates.
Chicago audiences can see three classic Kartemquin films this week, focusing on the politics of labor, art and healthcare.
Panelists will discuss the role of media in union organizing, what really happens in collective bargaining and the direction of unions today. Screenings of two Kartemquin Films labor documentaries—The Last Pullman Car and Taylor Chain II — will follow this panel. Clips from Milwaukee filmmaker Brad Lichtenstein’s forthcoming film, As Goes Janesville (being made in association with Kartemquin), will also be shown. The panel is part of the Milwaukee Film Festival's tribute to Kartemquin Films. Get more information.