A compilation of clips from films about work assembled by Kartemquin Films, made to be shown at the Illinois State Fair as part of the Illinois Humanities Council booth.
00:00Copy video clip URL Excerpts from “Nanook of the North” by Robert Flaherty, considered to be one of the first documentary films ever made.
02:18Copy video clip URL A clip from the Kartemquin movie, “Inquiring Nuns.” Two nuns ask people on the streets of Chicago, “Are you happy?” A woman says three things make a person happy: sex, social life, and your work.
02:37Copy video clip URL Footage of various men blowing and shaping glass with care and pride.
03:26Copy video clip URL Various shots of iron mill work, assembly line work, a clip from Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times” (Charlie works to exhaustion on an assembly line, turning from man to machine).
06:02Copy video clip URL Footage of workers on an auto assembly line. Interview with one of the workers who says, You need the money. You don’t have your mind on anything except: there’s another car. If your mind wanders about other things, you wouldn’t be employed very long. Various b-roll of the man on the assembly line, working industriously yet mundanely on cars. He adds: If they expect me to do this for another 30-years, they’ve got another thing coming!
07:11Copy video clip URL A woman interviewed talks about the potential of labor and union people. “I don’t think the American working people are going to let down this country.”
07:34Copy video clip URL Montage of labor imagery: the Ford auto plant, labor leaders, factories, industry workers.
08:15Copy video clip URL A woman in mid-thought is interviewed. She is saying in the 1930s things began to get bad. She says about 50 percent of workers were told they could be laid off. The management told them: no mercy is to be shown to anyone.
08:44Copy video clip URL Over a closeup of a worried-looking man’s face, a voiceover says it’s not uncommon for suicide rates to go up during economic recessions.
08:57Copy video clip URL Over shots of long lines at the unemployment office, a man in voiceover says he’s worried about how he’s going to survive: “Things are kind of rough … I’m just holding on …with the help of the Lord.”
09:31Copy video clip URL Interviews with people waiting at the unemployment office. A man says you have to work, pay bills. A woman adds, “Some of my morals have just evaporated from me.” Another woman says she got depressed and didn’t care any more. “There was a time I thought of suicide That’s when I started seeing my psychiatrist. Things are better now. I look for work every day.”
10:02Copy video clip URL B-roll of a worker at an unemployment office serving clientele. A voice over says that being unemployed robs people of the identity and purpose work gives. Work gives people a sense of achievement.
10:24Copy video clip URL A woman is interviewed talking about her work washing and folding bed sheets. She notes that in her day, white people and black people did different kinds of work and got different kind of pay.
10:50Copy video clip URL An angry man in voiceover rants that the white collar worker unjustly makes money off the blue collar worker, over shots of business people.
12:14Copy video clip URL Satrical voiceover: “Let’s not be too hard on big business. Us academics get part of the take also. Did you ever stop to think how many poverty professionals their are?”
12:34Copy video clip URL Over placid domestic scenes starring Blythe Danner, a voice satirizes the economy, the work force, unemployment.
13:12Copy video clip URL Voiceover: “Keeping the poor poor and catering to them is a basic American industry.”
13:43Copy video clip URL Clip from a documentary where a woman says, “They give you the necessity and make you feel you should be grateful getting that. But I’m raising my kids for what? For war? For welfare? And so is every other mother.”
14:16Copy video clip URL Clip showing farmers at work pitching hay. The farmer notes his spouse is right there at his side, helping.
15:02Copy video clip URL Clip from a documentary on a strike at the Scottish Daily News. The publisher threatened to shut down the operation, but the workers united and turned it into a worker-owned paper. Parliament helped the workers because unemployment in Scotland is a critical issue. Moral and productivity improved.
15:52Copy video clip URL Back to the clips from “Nanook of the North.” Nanook is building his family’s igloo. The narrator notes, “What an amazing man: master hunter, skilled fisherman, architect, mason, what next?”
16:45Copy video clip URL END TITLE: “Made in Chicago by Kartemquin Films.”