UC Berkeley Department of Film and Media

Department of Film & Media UC Berkeley

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Fall 2019 Featured Course / Film 140-002 - The Image of Labor: Work, Film, Media and Resistance!


Coming Fall 2019, Professor Jeffrey Skoller will be teaching a new course, Film 140-002 - The Image of Labor: Work, Film, Media and Resistance!

M/W 1:00pm-2:30pm, Dwinelle 188; Screening Tues. 5:00pm-7:00pm, Dwinelle 188 ///

Film as a mass medium emerged simultaneously with mass industrialization, making cinema the first art form of the industrial age. Since those beginnings, the representation of the worker and labor struggles against exploitation and for decent working conditions has been deeply intertwined with the history of cinema. From the early silent classics such as Lang’s Metropolis and Chaplin’s Modern Times to acclaimed films today including Alfonso Cuaròn’s Roma and Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You, filmmakers all over the world have attempted to tell the stories of the lives and struggles of working people. At the same time, cinema has made visible human labor, showing the dynamism, and poetry of work as a source of meaning, creativity and personal fulfillment.

In this course we will look at a range of film and media works from classical cinema to today’s new media platforms, in a range of genres from popular dramatic fiction and documentary film to activist and experimental media. By focusing on the relationship between form and content in these politically charged works, we explore how film and media have shaped the ways we understand the meaning of work in modern life and how labor struggles have defined social relations including race, class and gender. In addition to required viewing, reading and class discussion, students will create an image-based research project that engages contemporary issues around labor in their own lives and communities.