Recommended films

Battleship Potemkin / Strike  :  Both Sergei Eisenstein, 1925, USSR  :  Two classics from the early period of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution.  Lots of iconic imagery/scenes that will be instantly recognised.

Land and Freedom / Kes / Riff Raff / Bread and Roses (1995/1969/1991/2001).  Four classics from Ken Loach illustrating aspects of working class struggle in settings ranging from UK, Spain and USA. 

Grapes of Wrath  :  John Ford, 1940, USA.  Fantastic adaption of the John Steinbeck novel of the Great Depression.  Moving in parts and testimony to the resilience of the working class.

Bicycle Thieves  :  Vittorio de Sica, 1948, Italy.  Key document of Italian neorealism which documents the realities of working class life in post-war Italy.

Peterloo  :  Mike Leigh, 2018, UK.  Account of the massacre at a suffrage rally in St Peters Field Manchester in 1819 where cavalry charged a peaceful crowd leading to a number of deaths and hundreds of injured.  Labelled the bloodiest event in English political history.

Culloden :  Peter Watkins, 1964, UK.  Documentary style treatment of the events that took place at Culloden near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands.  The destruction of the Jacobite Army on 16.4.1746 and the slaughter of the clan army by the royalist troops led by the Duke of Cumberland ( ‘the butcher’) led to the collapse of the clan system, the end of the rebellion and, ultimately, the Highland Clearances.

All Quiet on the Western Front  :  Lewis Milestone, 1930, USA.  Arguably the finest anti-war film ever made.  Classic adaptation of the novel by Erich Maria Remarque about the stresses and futility of war

The Chess Players / an Enemy of the People  : Satyajit Ray, 1977 and 1989, India.  Two from Ray who many regard as the finest of India’s filmmakers.  Aspects of the colonial struggle illustrated in both.

Pather Panchali / Aparajito / World of Apu (The Apu Trilogy)  :  Satyajit Ray, 1955, 1956, 1959, India.  Arguably Ray’s finest work and the story of a working class family in post-independence India.

The Miners’ Hymns  :  Bill Harrison, 2010, UK.  Very beautiful elegy to the people of the Durham coalfields.  Wonderfully atmospheric and a fine memorial to working class people and place.

Pan’s Labyrinth  :  Guillermo del Toro, 2006, UK.  A beautiful film, a fantasy, a moral fable.  About the Spanish Civil War, disobedience, moral authority.