Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Mario Monicelli’s The Organizer, which Criterion is releasing on DVD and Blu-Ray today, is, I’d say, about half of a truly compelling film. That half consists of a large group of factory workers in turn-of-the-century Turin who, following an accident where one worker gets his arm caught in a piece of machinery, decide enough is enough, now is the time to stand up for their rights. They work 14 hours a day and are paid nothing close to what they at least feel they deserve, and there is no system in place to care for the injured worker, or others like him, so the workers band together and talk about unionizing. Monicelli’s story at this point is about the big picture – while some focus is trained on individual workers like the teenaged Omero (Franco Ciolli), whose youth does not exclude him from the domestic role of head of the house, and the burly Pautasso (Folco Lulli) who has an occasionally abrasive relationship with his colleagues, it’s the group that interests Monicelli.