In suburban Buenos Aires, 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" - threatens to turn the globalization debate on its head.
In the wake of Argentina's spectacular 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 San Martin auto plant had been 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 factory 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 legal system that sees their beloved factories as nothing more than scrap metal for sale.
In THE TAKE, director Avi Lewis and writer Naomi Klein (author of the international best-seller, No Logo) combine the stories of the workers and their families, stories of their struggle for jobs and dignity, with comments from factory owners, politicians and judges, and an examination of the macro-economic policies of globalization. The result is a compelling political thriller that pits ordinary workers against the local ruling elite and the powerful forces of global capitalism.
Amid the current debates over globalization, THE TAKE champions a humane economic manifesto for the 21st century.
EDITOR'S CHOICE! "Highly Recommended! Unfolds like a genuine thriller in the Costa-Gavras vein. Compelling!"—Video Librarian
2006 Award of Merit in Film, Latin American Studies Association
Winner, Nesnadny + Schwartz Award for Best Documentary, 2005 Cleveland International Film Festival
Winner, Grand Jury Prize, 2004 AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival
2004 Venice International Film Festival
2004 Hot Docs International Documentary Festival
Best Justice and Human Rights Film, 2004 Vermont International Film Festival
"Stirring!"—The New York Times
"Extraordinary!"—The New Yorker
" * * * [3 stars]!"—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"A cross between Michael Moore's caustic style and Ken Loach's eloquence."—The International Herald Tribune
"Moving! Fierce! Inspiring! Committed and compassionate."—Washington Post
"Builds tension like a quality thriller....a remarkable film that demonstrates that in the fight against corporate globalization, resistance isn't futile."—Mother Jones
"Excellent! A classic victory for the little guy...If it were shown in U.S. cities hit by factory closures, it might give unemployed Americans ideas."—New York Daily News
"Vitally important...a deeply moving and informative film. Its purpose is to inspire further battles just like the one it portrays-not violent revolution, but small-scale, incremental political progress, the kind that doesn't make news, but does make real change."—Cinema Scope
"An impassioned piece of cinematic journalism... Compelling, inspirational drama."—The Hollywood Reporter
"A refreshing and important contribution to the growing number of documentaries from and about the alter-globalization movement-what is perhaps more commonly known as the anti-globalization or Global Justice movement...Highly recommend THE TAKE as both good film and highly inspirational educational material!"—Political Communication