Review: ‘The Taste for Collective Action’ (Le Quotidien)

Original Article: Le quotidien, mar 30, 1977

The moral struggle of the « Lip »

Documentary French film Critique by Michel Pérez

To make this film, Dominique Dubosc has edited the documents he’d shot during the struggle of the Lip factory workers in 1973 and 1974 – as well as other stock shots.

Shot in 16mm, super 8mm or video, these documents allow us to follow the different phases of the conflict since the withdrawal of the CEO and the occupation of the factory by the workers, to the Dole agreement in which the government assured that the LIP company would be reopened and its personnel would be rehired progressively. (…)

But finally, what is most fascinating, what makes « The Taste for Collective Action » much more alive and valuable than a simple illustration of a particularly instructive episode in the history of workers’ struggles, is the attention the filmmaker pays to individuals and their growing consciousness; his determination to follow silhouettes and to observe faces; his respect for other people’s discourse, respect that keeps him from giving in to the temptations of didactic machiavellism. Thus we follow, towards the end of the film, the reactions of the workers who are still waiting to be rehired and forced to attend « re-cycling courses ». We observe the moral evolution of each of them, we see that they are fully capable of assuming responsibilities that the current organisation of labor denies them.

Then we understand that the LIP struggle was not only fought on the front of mass layoff and for the survival of the company, but that, for many, it was an awakening to new moral demands.

New threats of layoff have recently worried the Lip workers : thus the theatrical release of this film is timely. We only regret that it is so confidential and can only reach an already informed public. Once again, it should be the television’s role to show such documents. Needless to say that we are far from it.

Michel Pérez