Labor Day: Films about the Working World by Women Filmmakers

Labor Day: Films about the Working World by Women Filmmakers

By Jan Lisa Huttner

SOMETHING OLD: 13 Conversations About One Thing

SOMETHING NEW: Beauty Shop

SOMETHING BORROWED: Erin Brockovich

SOMETHING BLUE: Japanese Story

As we say a fond farewell to another summer and head into Fall, here are four films about workplace identities in the modern world.

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Jill and Karen Sprecher first attracted attention with Clockwatchers, their 1997 feature about four temps on the bot- tom rung of an enormous corporation. In 2001, they released 13 Conversations About One Thing, a film with many of the same themes, but broader and deeper. The sisters share screenwriting credits on both films, with Jill named director.

The anchor of 13 Conversations is Gene, a middle-aged, middle-manager in a large Manhattan insurance company. Gene – exquisitely played by Alan Arkin – is a divorced workaholic, and loneliness is slowly corroding all his interactions. One night he meets Troy (Matthew McConaughey). Their casual bar stool conversation marks a turning point in both lives. When Troy leaves the bar, he has a tragic encounter with Beatrice (Clea DuVall), but when Gene leaves the bar, he has a brief encounter with Patricia (Amy Irving) which, though wordless, is filled with redemptive beauty.