Facets Cinémathèque

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Facets Teach-In

Our Teach-In series uses film to create awareness about significant contemporary issues and provoke dialogue and discussion. They are held twice a month and are free-of-charge, although a donation will be requested.

February 26, 2018

Does the Working Class Go To Heaven?

The Organizer with Bill Pelz

Film still: The Organizer Film still: The Organizer
Best Writing, Story and Screenplay
Academy Awards, 1965
"A nearly forgotten near-great movie, with one of Marcello Mastroianni's classic tragicomic performances"
  —New Yorker
"Mario Monicelli's Zolaesque fresco set in turn-of-the-century Turin, gives us a Mastroianni far removed from his matinee-idol image... This unlikely revolutionary, one of his finest creations, is a memorable mix of passion and whimsicality"
  —Village Voice
3stars½ "Worldly wise and etched in hellish, beautiful smoke and soot, this death-punctuated labor comedy of hopeless resistance bellows with populist anger"
  —Slant Magazine
"Arguably one of the great Italian films of the 60s, it cries out for rediscovery"
  —Chicago Reader

The great Marcello Mastroianni stumbles into the hopeless struggle of textile workers in Turin who are battling 14-hour days and child labor, leading a vigorous fight against the bosses bent on worker suppression. One of the favorite films of the late Studs Terkel, The Organizer also stars Annie Girardot and Bernard Blier, and remains one of the most powerful outcries for the rights and dignity of workers.

Directed by Mario Monicelli, Italy, 1963, 130 mins., in Italian with English subtitles.

William Pelz, Ph.D. is Professor of History at Elgin College, and a noted historian of labor. His numerous books include co-editing the Eugene Debs Reader, work on the German workers movement, and most recently, A People's History of Modern Europe. He is a board member of the Illinois Labor History Society.


  • Monday, Feb. 26 at 6:30 pm

FREE admission!
Donations are requested.


The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation