The calendar for film festivals in Dublin continues to get more packed, with the first Dublin Workers Film Festival just three weeks away. The festival will be hosted at 27 Pearse Street in Dublin on Saturday October 1st, with three films being shown celebrating and displaying the lives of workers. With the recent strikes by Luas and Dublin Bus drivers bringing worker’s rights into the public debate again, it’s an apt time for the festival to make its debut and although the festival’s programme is small, they are three films that should be of interest to those who like their films to address serious issues affecting working people.
At 1pm October 1st, DWFF will be screening Black Girl (1966). Directed by Senagelese filmmaker Ousmane Sembène, Black Girl also known by its French title La Noire de…, tells the story of a Senegalese woman, eager to find a better life abroad who takes a job as a governess for a French family. She quickly finds her duties reduced to those of a maid after the family moves from Dakar to the south of France, where her employers mistreat her and her race is an ever-present issue. This film addresses the effects of colonialism, racism and post-colonial identity in Africa and Europe and was a landmark in Sub-Saharan filmmaking.
Screening at 3pm is Matewan (1987), directed by Oscar nominee John Sayles and starring James Earl Jones and Oscar winner Chris Cooper in his film debut. The film tells the story of the ‘Battle of Matewan’, a strike by coal miners in the small town of Matewan, West Virginia. An acclaimed film that garnered its own Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography that features standout performances from great actors like Jones, Cooper, Mary McDonnell and David Strathairn
Finally at 6.30pm is a more recent film, 2014’s Pride, directed by Stephen Beresford. Featuring great British actors like Imelda Staunton and Bill Nighy, Pride is based on the true story of LGBT activists who helped to raise money for families affected by the British miner’s strike of 1984 via the small miner’s town of Onllwyn in Wales. A crowd pleaser set in the dying light of British industrial towns in the vein of Billy Elliot or The Full Monty, the film also allows important consideration of the intersectionality of activism. The film’s screening at the Dublin Workers Film Festival will be followed by a Q and A with Gethin Roberts, an original member of LGSM (Lesbians amd Gays Support the Miners), the organisation shown in the film.