DER Documentary

Children of Labor: A Finnish-American History

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by Richard Broadman, Noel Buckner, Mary Dore, Al Gedicks
b&w, 55 min, 1977

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Featured at the 1977 New York Film Festival, Children of Labor is the story of how Finnish immigrants came into contact — and conflict — with industrial America. Three generations of Finnish-Americans recount how they coped with harsh realities by creating their own institutions: churches, temperance halls, socialist halls, and cooperatives.

The film focuses on the people, their organizations, and the challenges posed by both McCarthy-era political repression and present-day Home Useism. At the same time, Children of Labor deals with questions that reverberate in the lives of most Americans, especially the sons and daughters of immigrants.

“The film is refreshingly free of both propaganda and preachment. Instead, it works in the humanistic tradition, going from person to person to assemble a fascinating, richly anecdotal document on a particularly lively chapter in the history of the American working class.” Detroit Free Press
“Possibly the best film about the American working class produced in recent years — the film is a beautifully constructed collage of old photographs, rare documentary film strips, television news spots and interviews with Midwestern Finnish-Americans. More than any other film of its kind, it provides the viewer with an opportunity to join the men and women of a sector of the American working class in important and as yet unresolved debates.” In These Times

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
New York Film Festival, 1977

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Supported By Massachusetts Cultural Council National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Arts