Workers Unite: Mario Monicelli on The Organizer

On Film / Short Takes — May 1, 2012

The Organizer is a dramatically political statement from director Mario Monicelli. More commonly known for lighter films like Big Deal on Madonna Street, Monicelli created an expression of the necessity of collective action that is both gritty and entertaining. In making this period piece about a factory strike in turn-of-the-twentieth-century Turin (the rapidly industrializing Italian city that would come to be called “Italy’s Detroit”), Monicelli strove for the utmost realism, casting the film with actual workers and shooting on location in one of the area’s huge textile factories. In this 2006 interview, included as part of the film’s Criterion release, Monicelli (who died in 2010) talks about filming in the factory, along with the importance of creating an oppressive atmosphere and showing the reality of the working world.