The employees strike back in The Take, an engrossing documentary that sets its targets on the ill effects of globalisation. It tells the story of a group of unemployed factory hands who seize control of their former workplaces in a bid to revive Argentina's collapsed economy. Made by Canadian journalists Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein, it's an unashamedly partisan film, but one that both informs and inspires.
The film starts on a bleak note: "Welcome to the globalised ghost town," runs the narration, inviting us to ponder a "rich country made poor" by a decade-long embrace of International Monetary Fund policies overseen by President Carlos Menem. But then the fightback begins, as slingshot-armed workers re-open the abandoned factories and turn a profit once more. There are further struggles to come: the owners try to reclaim their plants in the courts, with Menem fighting their corner as he runs for re-election. Ultimately, though, this emerges as a positive portrait of people power.
"NO WIT OR FLAIR"
Yet, rousing as it is, you can't help feeling at times that the filmmakers have reduced a complex situation to a black and white conflict between good, honest workers and evil, corrupt capitalists. What's more, The Take doesn't share the wit and flair that gave political docs like Fahrenheit 9/11 and Super Size Me such mass appeal. Still, in its focus on working lives it's a lot more accessible than The Corporation - another anti-globalisation tract that also involved Klein - and its conviction should be saluted.
In English and Spanish with subtitles.