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National Film Board

The Take

Avi Lewis / Canada / 2004 / 87 ' / Spanish - English / S.T. English - French


Mark Ellam
Naomi Klein
David Wall
Naomi Klein, Laszlo Barna, Silva Basmajian, Avi Lewis & Katie McKenna

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Awards & Festivals

2004 Nominated, International Documentary Association, Feature Documentary
2004 Winner, AFI Fest, Documentary Award
2005 Nominated, Gemini Awards, Donald Brittain Award
2005 Nominated, Gemini Awards, Best Direction in a Documentary Program
2005 Nominated, Gemini Awards, Best Picture Editing in a Documentary Program or Series
2005 Nominated, Gemini Awards, Best Sound in an Information/Documentary Program or Series

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In suburban Buenos Aires, thirty unemployed auto-parts workers walk into their idle factory, roll out sleeping mats and refuse to leave.


"...a story of every-day heroism, that also offers a model for productive change by repositioning the people as the power-brokers..." - THE VANCOUVER SUN

"Lewis and Klein have done something extraordinary...The workers in THE TAKE are so admirable, displaying a melancholy eloquence and a genuine revolutionary spirit." - THE NEW YORKER

THE TAKE opens in suburban Buenos Aires, where thirty unemployed auto-parts workers walk into their idle factory, roll out sleeping mats and refuse to leave. All they want is to re-start the silent machines. But this simple act - The Take - has the power to turn the globalization debate on its head. A film which is almost guaranteed to make you alternately cry and laugh and most of all leave the screening with an overwhelming desire to change the world, The Take is a powerful manifesto to the power of ordinary people to come together and achieve extraordinary things.

In the wake of Argentina's dramatic economic collapse in 2001, Latin America's most prosperous middle class finds itself in a ghost town of abandoned factories and mass unemployment. The Forja auto plant lies dormant until its former employees take action. They're part of a daring new movement of workers who are occupying bankrupt businesses and creating jobs in the ruins of the failed system. But Freddy, the president of the new worker's co-operative, and Lalo, the political powerhouse from the Movement of Recovered Companies, know that their success is far from secure. Like every workplace occupation, they have to run the gauntlet of courts, cops and politicians who can either give their project legal protection or violently evict them from the factory.

The story of the workers' struggle is set against the dramatic backdrop of a crucial presidential election in Argentina, in which the architect of the economic collapse, Carlos Menem, is the front-runner. His cronies, the former owners, are circling: if he wins, they'll take back the companies that the movement has worked so hard to revive. Armed only with slingshots and an abiding faith in shop-floor democracy, the workers face off against the bosses, bankers and a whole system that sees their beloved factories as nothing more than scrap metal for sale.

With THE TAKE, director Avi Lewis, one of Canada's most outspoken journalists, and writer Naomi Klein, author of the international bestseller No Logo, champion a radical economic manifesto for the 21st century. But what shines through in the film is the simple drama of workers' lives and their struggle: the demand for dignity and the searing injustice of dignity denied.


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