The Take • 16 September 2007 • The SnowBlog
Maybe this counts as politics too, but let's give it the benefit of the doubt and just say it's about something interesting. I'd also like to make it clear that although this post involves the work of Naomi Klein, I'm not just mentioning it because she's scrumptious. Although any woman who's that daring, moral, eloquent, insightful - and who can giggle attractively when talking about being tear-gassed - deserves the occasional mention here. Phew. Is it me or is it a bit warm in here?
Ahem. Anyway 'The Take' is her husband's film, with Ms. Klein in a supporting role. The two of them, plus a dozen or so crew went to Argentina because of a new form of business they'd heard about there. The background to the story is the collapse of Argentina's economy. Sorry to slag off the IMF twice in one day, but taking their money when your economy is struggling is akin to asking the Big Bad Wolf to look after your grandmother for you. And, as always happens when someone follows their advice, Argentina's economy tanked. After which they still expect their money back.
As the economy collapsed, lots of factories closed down, lots of workers lost their jobs. Factory owners would declare bankruptcy and walk away. The workforce would be out on the street. Factories were left to rust.
Except that some of the sacked workers looked at the abandoned factories they used to run and decided they didn't need their old bosses to tell them what to do. The guys who used to operate the machines and drive the trucks reckoned they could go back to work despite having no one telling them what to do. And that's what drew Naomi Klein and her hubbie, Avi Lewis, to Argentina.
Workers who'd been out of a job for months, or years, would band together and reopen their old factories - often paying the same wage to everyone and making their decisions by ballot - and many of these businesses were becoming profitable. At which point their former owners would often reappear expecting to be in charge once again. Their land, their machines, their factory. The fact that they were happy to walk away and leave the place chained up didn't affect their legal rights to return when they once again saw the chance to make some money.
Now doesn't that sound like a story you might want to watch? Middle-aged seamstresses reopening their little garment factory - doing a better job of running it than the managers who'd sacked them and closed the place down - who are then accused of being criminals for going back to work and who find themselves barred from their business by hundreds of police in riot gear.
Don't you want to know how it all turns out?
Unbelievably, I can't find any sign that you can buy The Take in the UK - or in a Region 2 version (which is the DVD region that includes the U.K.). If you want a copy then Amazon.com will send you one - just make sure you can play Region 1 NTSC DVDs first. If you have no idea what that last sentence means, then e-mail me with the make and model of your DVD player and TV and I'll help you figure out how you can play the U.S. version of the movie.
(Also, if you own a UK DVD distribution company, maybe you could get cracking on a Region 1 version. Given that I can produce one (if only the law allowed me to) in about two hours using a home PC, it shouldn't take you long.)