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The Take
The Take
Actor: Naomi Klein
Genres: Drama, Documentary
UR     2006     1hr 27min

{WINNER! Best Documentary, 2005 Cleveland International Film Festival} — {WINNER! Grand Jury Prize, 2004 AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival} — {WINNER! Best Justice and Human Rights Film, 2004 Vermont International ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Naomi Klein
Genres: Drama, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Drama, Biography
Studio: First Run Features
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 02/21/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2004
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2004
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 27min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

A Moving Film With a Few Serious Oversights
Paul V. McDowell | Santa Barbara, CA USA | 09/28/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Overall, this is a moving film. As an anthropology instructor, I've shown it several times and evoking a largely sympathetic audience. Currently I'm writing a paper on the process of recuperacion, and this seems to be potentially one alternative model to the destructive policies of transnational corporations, their agencies, and the neoliberal ideology they espouse.

That said, there is one serious problem in their choice of a case study that runs throughout the film; the auto parts manufacturer Forja San Martin (Forja). It's a very moving portrait of Freddy Espinoza, one of the leaders of the cooperative taking over the shutdown factory. Lalo, the coordnator representing the national organization for recovered factories, seems to be a likable guy. We see the leaders trying to work out a deal with a tractor factory.

This image breaks down, however, when we learn from Andres Ruggeri in his "Worker Recovered Enterprises in Argentina" that the backslider depicted in the film, the one who supports Menem in the 2003 election, has taken over the leadership of Forja San Martin, that the others portrayed in the film have been expelled from the factory and cooperative, and that the deal with the tractor factory--Zanello by name--has fallen through.

Even worse, we find from Zachary Fields in his unpublished paper "A Conservative, Middle Aged Revolution," that Forja is producing way below capacity, that it cannot add new technology because banks refuse them credit (private lenders hate all recovered factory cooperatives), and that it cannot make any investments until they deliver to their customers, who often furnish Forja the raw materials. Forja, in short, is not doing well.

Zanon and Brukman seem to fare better when it comes to accurate representation. One thing that they seem to be doing right is maintaining strong bonds with their neighborhoods and community, a deficit of Forja according to Ruggeri, and of many other recovered organizations.

Another issue is worker commitment to change. According to Andres Gaudin, many, if most, workers of recovered factories lack a sense of political ideology or commitment; they just want to get their wages and go home. In fact, says Ruggeri, many workers are in the enterprises because they have nowhere else to go.

Despite these reservations, The Take is on to something interesting. For one, Ruggeri points out that despite the miniscule number of recovered factories (0.08% of all such operations) and low number of workers, they have stabilized. In an hostile environment--no credit, stringent legal constraints, competitive economy, constant threats of evictions, and uncertain policies of the Kirchner government--this is an accomplishment in its own right.

The movement has spread to Brazil, Uruguay, Panama--and Venezuela, where the first conference on recovered facories was held. Venezuela is looking at 700 factories for possible recovery, and a paper mill, an aluminum company, and a valve manufacturer were featured at the conference.

Let's hope that the factory recovery movement is embryonic of the future; and I hope the couple comes back to film or otherwise provide an update of the situation in Argentina. It would also be nice to know how the rcovery movement is doing in other countries--especially Venezuela."
El pueblo unido jamas sera vencido!
wildflowerboy | planet earth | 03/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Using the recuperated Forja factory as a microcosm of the larger Argentine piquetero movement, author Naomi Klein and director Avi Lewis have done a brilliant job documenting the grassroots activism of marginalized workers in the wake of Argentina's dramatic economic collapse caused by years of IMF/World Bank structural adjustment programs and the corrupt presidency of Carlos Menem. Faced with abject poverty and state repression, the unemployed auto-parts workers of the Forja factory have occupied their abandoned workplace and transformed it into a successful cooperative, proving thus the power of labor solidarity. As such, the Forja factory, like all the recuperated factories, neighborhood assemblies, and independent media collectives in Argentina, provides an inspirational example of direct democracy, participatory economics, and horizontal social organizing. Besides being an important film politically, as a work of art it is simply exquisite. Fans of Mercedes Sosa will especially be moved by the protest scenes that were put to her music!
Interested - "The Take" (La Toma)
Pablo Martin Podhorzer | Buenos Aires, Argentina | 04/10/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I'm a sociologist writting an MA Thesis about cooperatives and capitalist-to-worker owned companies. I was also born and raised in Argentina. I need to add more? This is the film that explains to you the phenomenon of closing capitalist firms converted into cooperatives that not only survive, but thrive! This could be the beggining of something new, of the possibility of Market Socialism (a form of Economic Democracy). The DVD contains an excellent 'behind-the-scenes' feature and a short about one of the young men murdered by the police during the popular uprising of December 2001. If you're interested in social movements, root initiatives and other of the kind, you must see this film."
Reflection on "The Take"
J. Alexander | San Diego, CA | 03/27/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Reflections on "The Take" J. Alexander

I've seen this film a few times now and it remains inspiring on repeated viewings, as do the bonus features included on the disc. Not just a microcosm of the effects of globalization in Latin America, this film is a microcosm of globalism everywhere in the world and how ordinary people can overcome the extraordinary corruption and exploitation institutionalized throughout the world economy of, by, and for the corporate elitist bankers, investors, and politicians. As is said toward the end of the film, "We [Argentina] are the mirror to look into, the mistake to avoid. Argentina is the waste that remains of a globalized country. We are where the rest of the world is going."

In the 1990s under President Menem and the direction of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), social services in Argentina were reduced, whole industries were sold off to foreign firms, and backroom deals were made, guaranteed to benefit the international elites and corrupt politicians when the well ran dry from being over bled by `pigs on the wing'. No other outcome was possible, and no other outcome has ever ultimately resulted. To profit under capitalism, corporations must create scarcity (by limiting supply) on the one hand, and an unlimited supply of cheap labor on the other. So when they were unable to do this in Argentina (due to worker demands and depressed global demand), they decided to remove all liquid capital from the Argentine economy and liquidate factories and equipment as quickly as possible.

Many workers, however, though `free to starve,' chose, rather, to take their right-to-life seriously by seizing their means of earning a living. Though non-ideological, they naturally and un-self-consciously embarked on an anarcho-syndicalist adventure not unlike the kibbutzim (collective farms) of Israel.

To succeed, they had to work with the corrupt system and politicians still entrenched in their country. But most of them apparently could see that putting the factories back to work was in the interests of the whole country. Where the workers have had the toughest time is in securing any sort of credit or loans from financial institutions, and the worker-owned factories that have found lasting success have done so by nurturing strong connections with, and support from their local communities.

To answer a few of the `guiding questions', socialism and capitalism are both state-run on behalf of corrupt elites; their just two models for exploiting the people. What the enlightened workers realize is that they cannot depend on any leader of any party, because the entire system, including the so-called democratic process, is entirely corrupt and controlling. No one, for instance, should be at all surprised that Barack Obama is giving the bankers billions and billions of dollars, after the millions they contributed to his election campaign. What we all need is a truly democratic process not for sale to the highest bidder.

When the workers find themselves in control of their own remunerative destinies they learn the greatest lesson of all: (political/economic) freedom = (moral) responsibility and vigilance. Most people are secretly afraid of freedom and the responsibility it demands, and this is why most people have allowed themselves to be enslaved, in one form or another, around the world and throughout human history.

The would-be owners and rulers, like Menem and "Mr. Zanon", are forever watching and waiting for their moment. They are leaches with the heart of compulsive gamblers. Their ideal world is a casino and a pair of loaded dice; and any `system' with rules can and will be rigged to benefit them--once they get in. This is why Thomas Jefferson said that every generation needs a revolution to "renew the blood of freedom".

Not only is such a anti- or counter-globalist revolution possible in the United States today, it is absolutely necessary if we value our lives and our future. Furthermore, given the current `take' by Wall Street, I believe it is imminent. Our economy is being swallowed whole, and we are headed for an unavoidable cataclysm. But this time, although the revolution will probably not be televised by Murdoch and friends, it will happen on a global scale and succeed in the industrialized cities with universities, where workers can most easily and effectively organize, and where idealistic student activists are a short march away from campus to CBD (Central Business District).

Given current science and technology, a worker-controlled resource based economy will provide an unlimited supply of renewable energy for the cheap production and transportation of food and medicine to every corner of the world. But there's nothing in that for the profiteers -so they'll have to go.

¡Viva la revolucion!