Argentina’s Recuperated Factories: now a feature film

6 May

There have already been some interesting documentaries made about the dramatic process of workers on the edge of poverty taking over the factories, schools and other workplaces that employed them before hitting the financial skids. And then running them just fine.

Now there is a feature film as well – albeit one with a name that could well be a documentary — Industria Argentina: Las Fabricas para Quien Trabajan.

It is the first feature film of a young man named Ricardo Diaz Iacaponi, who worked as sound man on a 2004 doc on the same subject (I’m guessing it was ‘The Take.’) In this case, however, Diaz wrote a script based on numerous conversations with people now successfully running their own workplaces, including the Hospital Israelita, the Viyetes icecream factory and the Navales Unidos ship yard, to name just a few. And he hired well-known actors like Carlos Portaluppi and Soledad Silveyra to play the roles of workers, their family, plant managers and lawyers.

I’m not surprised that a feature film has now come out of the factory recuperation movement. As I myself found when I was interviewing people from the MNFRT for the final chapters of Broke But Unbroken, the personal circumstances and challenges and emotional turmoil they all went through were indeed epic.

Every  single one of them was at some point brought to edge of a Spielberg-like abyss, where it was a question of either be captured by the villains – i.e. accept defeat and  the bleak prospects of permanent unemployment — or leap across, and running the factory.

The real story, moreover, comes with a happy ending worthy of any movie: whatever the ups and downs of the Argentine economy and the particular workplace, the rewards have been huge — and life-changing —  for all those workers whose collective history has now inspired a movie.


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