The proletariat and its struggles: reels of iconic workers

1. Modern times

Directed in 1936 by Charlie Chaplin, Modern times is his last film putting the character of Tramp to grips with an industrialized world of work. A time when the Great Depression raged like wildfire and exalted mass unemployment in the West. A silent film that nevertheless says so many things about relations of domination, this masterpiece constitutes an indictment against assembly line work and Taylorism, in the light of themes dear to Marx during the previous century. Without campaigning for socialism, Chaplin denounces alienation, generated not only by assembly line work, but by the entire capitalist economic system. Since man no longer owns the goods he produces, he no longer belongs to himself. », analyzes the website So many socio-philosophical aspects which could not make us forget the capital homage to the cinema of Modern timesleaving cult scenes to posterity: When Charlot is caught in the gears of the machine, he is caught like film in the gears of the camera “, remember with delight the Dardenne brothers, in a documentary-tribute to this timeless jewel.

2. The working class will

in Paradise

You, Lulu, you will not die in your bed. You will die here, on your machine. From overzealousness to rebellion against his employer, there is ultimately only one step that Lulu Massa, hero of The working class goes to heaven crosses boldly. ” In her factory, Lulu submits to infernal cadences. But he does it while being aware of being an object. From the beginning, he talks about himself like a machine “, analyzed in 1971 Elio Petri, director of this drama falling within a cycle intended to embody the proletariat, and which was rewarded with the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival the following year. Originally addicted to his work in a Milanese factory, where his diligence earned him the praise of his bosses and the tenacious hatred of his comrades, then of the unions, Lulu Massa (played by Gian Maria Volonté) adapts to a frenetic pace of work. To meet his own needs, but also those of his partner and his ex-wife, as well as the two sons born of these unions. Until the day when a work accident amputates a finger. A tragic turn initiating the radical commitment of Lulu, he this worker who then tips over into madness, but whose comrades will show him solidarity by starting a strike… A class struggle with a transalpine sauce, which says many things about the mechanisms of domination at work.

3. Germinal

In 1993, Claude Berri took over the novel that Émile Zola had written in 1885, Germinal, to bring it to the big screen. The singer Renaud in the role of Étienne Lantier, a former machinist landed in a mine in the North of France, Gérard Depardieu in that of Toussaint Maheu, a miner from father to son whose friend Lantier becomes underground, his companion and mother- courage “the Maheude”, embodied by Miou-Miou… major figures at the service of the transcription of the miserable living conditions of these black mouths, in particular inspired in Zola by the great strike of the Anzin miners of 1884, during which the first miners’ union was born.

4. I, Daniel Blake

The 2016 Cannes Film Festival was not mistaken for once by winning the Palme d’Or this drama by Ken Loach. In I, Daniel Blake, the British director is poignantly in the wake of this sixty-year-old carpenter abused by social services despite his heart problems, the administration ordering him to find a job under penalty of punishment. A tortuous path during which he will meet Katie, a mother who is also mired in a Kafkaesque social situation…

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The proletariat and its struggles: reels of iconic workers