Film: 5708

Social History | 1980 | Sound | Colour

Clip:

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Synopsis:

Unemployment. A sobering film about what happens to people after loosing their jobs. Men talk about their experiences and the affects on them.

Young man in countryside talks to camera about loosing his job. He says that he went to the city and put his name down with all the agencies but the phone did not ring. He used to work in an office, but was made redundant. He talks about starting to drink alcohol. Then he took to stealing drugs and ended up in trouble with the police. He used to be successful and respectable, and ended up in a cell with criminals.
An executive in his mid forties talks to camera. He said that his employer head hunted him, but that he was happy where he was working so resisted many good offers. But he was offered to name his own terms. He changed jobs 'I had the world by the tail'. He had known his boss for 12 -14 years, then one morning he went to work and found the locks being changed and his filing cabinets open. His boss told him the company was downsizing and that he had to leave the building by 5pm.
A church. Men around the table join in prayer with the pastor. Pastor explains that unemployment is a growing problem in Toronto.
Montage of shots of people saying what their jobs were, what qualifications they have, and how long they have been unemployed.
Railway station. Sign says Beaconsfield, (in Canada not UK). Men pretend they still have jobs as they can not bear to tell their families. View of commuters getting off a train, they carry briefcases.
Radio studio. A volunteer defends the position of the unemployed, she tries to help them. The radio interviewer tries to suggest that being unemployed has benefits.
A social worker. He explains the pattern that unemployed men often take. They start drinking, then sometimes become abusive towards their family. The family breaks down and often ends in divorce.
Family Courts. A woman in the witness stand says that her husband was unemployed, started drinking and was abusive to her and her children. She does not know where her husband is now, but wants sole custody of the children. She does not want her husband anywhere near her children.
Hospital. A doctor and nurse look at x-rays of a young baby. The nurse says the mother did not seem close to the child. The x-rays show a fracture to the baby's skull and multiple fractures to the limbs. Doctor says it is a typical case of child abuse, fractures are caused by grabbing or shaking the child.
Interview with young man. He says that after 6 months unemployment, depression really sets in. He said he got a job and worked for 5 days but he was ill, and knew he would be fired when he went back to work. He could not face it so he went to his doctor and got some pills and took an overdose.
Toronto Crisis Centre. People take phone calls from people in distress. One lady talks to a man who has lost his job. He is calling from a phone box. He has cut his arms and is dying from blood loss. The volunteer tries to keep him talking and finds out what buildings he can see. He says his vision is going. The telephone goes dead. The volunteer is visible shaken, a colleague arranges for an ambulance to search for the dying man.


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