The Take

September 1st, 2005 Film, Film Reviews, Filmink

With the whole American continent south of the Texas/Mexico border decisively out of the news (unless it’s to demonise one of the left-leaning republics as quasi-communists), we can be forgiven in Australia for a case of collective ignorance about conditions in South and Latin America.

So the first surprise in the new film by the husband/wife team of Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein (author of bestseller No Logo) is that until just a handful of years ago, the socio-economy of Argentina was comparable to our own. But, selected as the lab rat for IMF steamrolling to prise open the goldmine of its nationalised industry — Argentina became a symbol of everything our economic neo-colonial system does wrong, and in just months the country of 36 million was transformed into a poverty-stricken wasteland of rusting, abandoned factories while USD$40b fled overnight.

As people locked out of empty workplaces gradually starved, several worker co-operatives took matters into their own hands — breaking back in, getting the machines running, paying themselves fairly, managing in open forums without bosses and trying to get their operations back to commercial viability. It’s one such struggle Lewis and Klein document with simplicity, hope and heartbreak, bringing us one of the rare happy endings of the globalisation debate.

The Take casts a wide eye over the desperation in Argentina by focusing in on one group of its protagonists, giving the subject of social justice a firm human grounding to tell the story. Without the textbook-like aspects of The Corporation or Bowling for Columbine, it’s a straightforward film and gives the statistics the emotional weight of reality.


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