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Made in Dagenham

If ever there was a movie you wanted to be better than it is, it’s this British film based on the 1968 strike at the Ford plant in the London suburb of Dagenham. Given the recent events in Wisconsin, the time is right for any film to stand up in support of labor. And there’s no better medium for putting across the history of the worldwide workers’ movement, the struggles it fought, and the gains (now taken so lightly) it made.


Steven Spielberg got the joke. And he liked it well enough to become a part of it. The celebrated director has a fleeting cameo (of sorts) in the new sci-fi spoof Paul. You can easily miss it as it quickly and obscurely comes and goes, but it’s typical of the amiably whimsical, spoofy humor of Paul, and it entails a little insider joke on Spielberg that he must have wanted to help deliver.


This rare opportunity to see Chinese filmmaker Liu Jiayin’s astonishing debut film (it’s unavailable on home video) should top everyone’s must-see list. Liu and her parents, playing fictionalized versions of themselves, spend the film in the painfully cramped spaces of their real lives—a tiny apartment, the shop where they craft and sell handbags—revealing a family defined by frustration, disappointment, economic strife, and a pervasive, slow-burning despair.

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