A List of Videos on the Subject of Poverty

1.      EYES ON THE FRIES Young Workers in the Service Economy http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/publications/fries.shtml
Low wages, erratic schedules, no health care, work-school conflicts. This film looks beyond the stereotypes of carefree and undeserving youth to uncover a reality that millions of young working people know all too well: no matter how hard you work and how well you do in school, it can be difficult to stay afloat when you're coming of age in a "McJob" economy. But there are ways to improve things — and young people are taking the lead.
2.      A very good video (DVD) I have been using in class as well as for some community presentations is "Wage Slaves." It's long, approximately 100 minutes, but very effective.  Four case histories, individuals/families, representing the Working Poor are highlighted.  Also, My policy class just completed book reviews on "The Working Poor: Invisible in America," not a video but an excellent little paperback that the students like a great deal.
3.      Waging a Living: Documentary. With Jean Reynolds, Jerry Longoria, Barbara Brooks and Mary Venittelli. Directed by Roger Weisberg. (Unrated. 85 minutes.)

"Waging a Living" is a documentary about the working poor in America, people who have full-time jobs and can't get by on their low-paying or minimum wage salaries. Directed by Roger Weisberg, the film is without narration but occasionally drops a statistic onto the screen that relates the specific case histories to a general problem -- for example that housing costs have tripled since 1979, while wages for the bottom 20 percent of the work force have remained stagnant.

4.      Two on world poverty to add are Born Into Brothels and City of God.
5.      Here is a list of working class videos-- movies and documentaries: http://www.rebelgraphics.org/workingclassmovies.html
6.      I've used this presentation before--it is short, but compelling.  It was put out a couple of years ago... http://www.usccb.org/cchd/povertyusa/tour2.htm
7.      Check out The Catholic Worker. And/or the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.
8.      I just heard about a movie that might be interesting.  It's not just a video Will Work For Food is full blown movie www.willworkforfoodmovie.com
9.      Country Boys on PBS
10.  Class Issues = Titanic; World Poverty = Born Into Brothels, and City of God
11.  The PBS show NOW (on Friday night after Washington Week) often covers topics related to the working poor. One segment that stands out for me aired a few months ago: it was about the tomato pickers in Imokalee, Florida, who formed their own grassroots movement for better working conditions and slightly higher wages—and achieved some success. A few weeks ago, they did a show on how unionized workers in New Orleans in the wake of Katrina had been laid off in favor of more easily exploitable undocumented workers. I think another show on the Katrina aftermath is coming up next Friday (the 20th).
12.  I had good luck with the PBS video "People Like Us" in a first year honors colloquia at Univ Delaware, "The Culture of Work in America." It's a string of about 10 minute vignettes about normative perceptions of class among young people from diverse ethnic backgrounds with an excellent section on a family of the rural poor. Another film that worked really well was "Take Out" about a Chinese food delivery man in Manhattan. Powerful film that involves current issues of poverty, class, and immigration.
13.  David Riker's triptych "La Ciudad/The City" is the product of workshops with Hispanic undocumented manual workers in New York City, although Riker wrote the screenplay in a fictive mode. It is on video. I write about it in Sweatshop (Rutgers UP, 2004).
14.  For a couple films on poverty in America check out Poverty Outlaw and Outriders (you can order them at skylightpictures.com). Poverty Outlaw deals with poverty in Philly, deindustrialization and poor mothers organizing for housing. Also check out the Media College of the University of the Poor (at www.universityofthepoor.org ).

(put together by Michael Hale)


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