Modern Labor

Modern Labor

A collection of works that explore the cascading effects of capitalism and systems of modern labor.

Work consumes most of our lives, shaping our private and public selves. Modern Labor is a collection of films depicting the ripple effects of the current neoliberal global economic order in countries as diverse as Mexico, England, France, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ukraine, Nigeria and Bangladesh. In these films, systems of exploitation and extraction, the disproportionate distribution of resources, and race and gender relations impact bodies at work.

Modern Labor
  • Buoyancy


    Rodd Rathjen • Australia • 2019

    Fourteen year old Chakra lives in Cambodia with his family, where he labors each day in the rice fields his older brother stands to inherit. Yearning for freedom, Chakra secretly works with a local broker to make the passage to Thailand, where he ...

  • Import/Export


    Ulrich Seidl • 2005 • Austria • Power and violence within the separating Eastern and Western Europe.

    Import/Export is Ulrich Seidl’s bracing study of the intersections of power, capital, and violence within the chasm separating Eastern and Western Europe.

    Olga lives in Ukraine w...

  • Kinetta


    Yorgos Lanthimos • Greece • 2005 • Kinetta is a cryptic portrait of isolation, violence, and boredom.

    A seaside town. Sun-drenched and thronged with tourists in the summer, it is now winter, and the landscape is barren, dreary. Three locals live vaguely intersecting lives—a maid...

  • My Wonderful Wanda


    Bettina Oberli • Switzerland, Germany • 2020 • A delightful satire of the haves and the have-nots.

    Wanda left two young sons with her parents in Warsaw to travel to Switzerland in search of gainful employment. Here she labors as an in-home caregiver, tending to Josef, a wealthy in...

  • Sorry We Missed You


    Ken Loach • United Kingdom • 2019 • A wrenching, intimate family drama from the legendary Ken Loach.

    Ricky has been a blue-collar worker his whole life. His wife, Abby, is a domestic worker, caring for the aging and infirm. They always managed to make ends meet, until they lost th...

  • The Chambermaid


    Lila Avilés • Mexico • 2018 • Eve labors invisibly while evoking the restlessness of her own dreams.

    Eve works as a chambermaid at a luxurious hotel in Mexico City. Steeped in architectural splendor and sumptuous textures of privilege, Eve's surroundings are privvy to others, not ...

  • The Measure of a Man


    Stéphane Brizé • France • 2015 • A powerful, deeply troubling vision of modern labor.

    Middle-aged Thierry is unemployed. Despite working the same job for many years, he has been laid off, and is now being subjected to the humiliating spectacle of searching for new employment. Vi...

  • Whores' Glory

    In Bangkok, Thailand, women linger in brightly-lit boxes, awaiting their next client. In the bustling red-light district of Faridpur, Bangladesh, a madam haggles over the price of a teenage girl. In Reynosa, on the Mexican-American border, SUVs drive up and down muddy streets while drug-addled ...

  • Workingman's Death

    In the Donbass region of Ukraine, coal miners toil far below the surface of the earth, extracting carbon to heat their meager homes, selling anything extra for food. In Kawah Ijen, Indonesia, men scale treacherous mountain paths to the edge of a volcanic crater, where they harvest slabs of sulfu...