The Take (2004) Poster


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Eye-opening and Hopeful
dan_sprocket14 November 2004
This movie helps progressive people address one of the main criticisms of the right and capitalists: what would you do differently if capitalism and globalization is so bad?

Argentina was a country where public utilities had been sold off and money fled the country. Factories were left empty, owing millions of dollars in taxes to various levels of government. The workers thought: we don't have jobs, so we can't buy things for our families. There are no jobs, because people aren't buying things for their families. So they broke the cycle, and with government approval (eventually) occupied the factories and just started producing items for themselves and their neighbors. The co-operative/collectivist movement in Argentina flourished.

The movie shows it was far from easy, and there are many hurdles left to overcome for this country and its people. But it's a hopeful message that if you buy locally, use locally produced services and products produced "locally", you create a viable economic cycle that enriches everybody. You may not have $40 microwaves produced someplace else on the other side of the world, but instead you get a quality product produced by your neighbour, that doesn't require the expense and waste of trans-global shipment. Then, the makers of cheap microwaves will be forced to pay their workers more in order to create a local/national market for their products, rather than using slave labour and shipping the products overseas to the "first world".

Okay, I'm off my soap box. Well done movie with real emotion and appeal.
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The real "Yes We Can"
juujuuuujj12 July 2009
This documentary is the real "Yes, We Can", only instead of an empty political statement it's a true demonstration of "How You Can" make a real change.

When someone tells you that an enterprise cannot run without a boss and a hierarchy of power, don't believe them. Just let them watch "The Take" (La Toma) and see how it's possible to replace the "hierarchy of power" with a "network of cooperation". At first, I didn't believe it myself, but now I know it's possible. Imagine workers cooperating and taking decisions by voting, effectively managing a successful enterprise. Even if the people are inexperienced at first, even if they disagree sometimes, things can be worked out.

"The Take" simply shows something that Capitalism says cannot exist, something that's supposedly impossible: people cooperating for a common purpose, dividing profits equally, taking decisions democratically and managing the enterprise successfully. No leaders, no power struggles, just cooperation. The incentive is the common success, not just personal gain.

"The Take" is even more topical today in the so-called Global financial crisis, because it poses the question: "what should happen to a failed business? Should it be bailed out by the people only to repeat the same mistakes again? Should it be liquidated and sold for scrap metal, leaving the workers without jobs? Or should everything start anew, but this time as a democratic cooperation between workers?" So next time a business fails and the government decides to take your money to save a corporation, know that you have the right to say "NO, I deserve to be compensated. Your factory will do nicely."

I simply cannot express how inspiring and eye-opening this documentary is, you just have to see it for yourself.
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The Take is a film about *true democracy*.
greenelephant88823 December 2004
The Take is perhaps one of the most inspirational films I had ever seen. It provides an example to all of us - in terms of what we could accomplish if only we came together, if only we joined hands like those grandmothers in the streets of Argentina, like those workers who took production and decision making into their own hands. True democracy has to start from the bottom up, it has to start in the family, in the school, in the workplace, in the neighborhood and expand outward from there. Only when decisions in *all of these* social settings are made democratically, based on majority vote, only then, can our society begin to call itself democratic. This is currently not the case in the United States. It is not the case in the US family, nor in US schools, and no where is it more untrue than in the US workplace. Currently in the United States practically all decisions are made by those in power, by those with the money, and enforced on those underneath. When somebody gets fired from a workplace, do all the workers get together and vote on whether the person should be kept or fired? Do the children in the US schools have any democratic power to decide how things are done and organized? Do wives have equal power with their husbands in the American family? So how can a society that is so undemocratic claim to be a model of democracy for others? It is unfortunate that in the US democratic participation is limited to electing individuals to power, and is never directly related to policy issues. Our society would be much more democratic if we voted like specifically on the questions at hand both at the national and at the local level: REFERENDUM: Should US troops remain in Iraq? Should gay marriage be legal? Etc. All the questions that are most important to us, why don't we just vote specifically on them? The movie about Argentine factory workers has a message about democracy: "We vote often, that way we get used to loosing". If we were to vote more often, and to vote specifically on the issues that are important to us, then we would have a true participatory democratic society. So the Take, in my opinion is *a very important* film, and is something that all workers around the world and all people should learn from.

Some other comments I have about the Take are as follows. -By taking over Argentine factories, the workers are benefiting not only themselves and their families, but also their communities and Argentina as a whole, by contributing to economic recovery. I think this is a very important point. - It is unclear to me how the workers were able to make the factories profitable again, despite the economic crush. Because generally, when an economic collapse takes place and people lose jobs and savings, the demand for new goods declines, and that is probably why the factory owners were forced to shut down their factories in the first place. So how are the workers able to sell off their final products after taking over production? Is there some kind of barter system in place? Are the workers getting their inputs domestically instead of by importing them? I wish the film explained this. -The issue of private property is raised in the film. Should people really have the right to own stuff if they are not making good use of it? I mean, like if you are a kid with a toy, and you aren't playing with your toy, and the kids next to you want to borrow your toys because they actually want to play together, shouldn't you just give it to them, since you are not using it anyway? I mean why is the law on the side of those who want to keep their toys to themselves and do nothing with it?
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Good news for once
wandereramor29 August 2011
For folks of the leftist persuasion there's not really been a lot of cheerful stuff in the news for the past decade or three. The trouble with normal, as they say, is that it always gets worse. Most political documentaries are the same way -- something terrible is happening, the polemical narrator assures us, and other than the go-out-and-do-something last ten minutes of the film things are kind of universally bleak.

The Take opposes all of that, and is the rare piece of media in which the revolution is not just a vague series of values but an actual practise, made up mostly of hard work and disagreement, but moving forward in a positive direction nonetheless. Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein aren't the slickest filmmakers in the world, but they know enough to get out of the way and let the incredible story before them unfold. One of the few documentaries -- one of the few films period -- that I've left feeling genuine hope, this is a must-see for anyone who believes (or wants to believe) that another world is possible.
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an above-average doc on a great subject
dubesor4 April 2005
I saw this on television (CBC) yesterday night and thought it was a good documentary. I had heard of the film and its topic before and was deeply intrigued. Having also read Klein's "No Logo", you could say I had more interest in this than most. Lewis and Klein move swiftly in telling their tale of Argentinian workers' plight for dignity and labour. A balanced interplay of rhetoric that appeals to the intellect and the emotions will win over many of the viewers. The length is such that the film does not become boring or drawn-out and good editing judgment focuses on relevant segments. Regardless of their take on these events in Argentina, I think everyone has something to learn from this film. A project like this gives me faith in our country's National Film Board ... also thanks to CBC Newsworld for not fearing to air this several times (even though late at night).
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dump the bosses!
coweatman23 January 2005
the worker owned factories in argentina are one of the best developments in recent history. i think the most interesting part of it is that people who are not ostensibly "political" have responded to a crisis by instituting something, spontaneously, that looks like it is within spitting distance of anarchosyndicalism. joe hill would be proud.

i saw this film as part of the touring show for the lost film festival, and it was easily the highlight of the show. I'm eagerly awaiting this to come to a local theater so i can see it again, and i'm going to try to get as many people as possible to go.
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End Results of Globalization, and What to Do About It!
protek2210 January 2007
The Take is one of the most informative economic and political documentaries currently available. The issues Ms. Klein and her colleagues chronicle, are of extreme importance for anyone seeking to gain a factual understanding of today's most pressing economic and political issues. Argentina had been a poster child for the globalization and neoliberal economic policies promoted by the U.S., the World Bank, and the IMF. While these policies are still being widely hailed by the mainstream media as the wave of the future, their truly destructive nature is actually understood by very few. This film allows the viewer to witness the catastrophic economic and political challenges that brought Argentina to it's knees, and the inspired solution implemented by Argentinian workers, as they rallied from the depths of economic and political despair, to redeem themselves from the clutches of corrupt politicians, and global financiers.
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JohnSeal1 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Which side are you on, boys, which side are you on? Count me as on the side of the workers, who proved that 'cooperativism' can succeed in Argentina without the unnecessary robber barons, corrupt politicos, and international bankers we find parasitically attached to our western 'democracies'. This inspiring film documents the movement that saw workers seize control of abandoned factories after their nation's IMF sponsored economic collapse. You'll be hard pressed to choose who to dislike the most: the repellent and oily Carlos Menem, who carried water for the IMF whilst bankrupting his nation; the smug oligarch who confidently predicts that the president will soon return 'his' factory to him; or the pocket fascists of the local police who, as usual, always intervene on the side of capital. What cannot be denied is the amazing strength of the workers themselves, who against all odds have seized the tools of production and made them work for the people. Three cheers! And the film ain't bad, either.
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A bit over-artistic and a bit long in coming to the point
Peter Pk3 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
First of all I'm personally left'ish, so I was not completely bulletproof to the message in "The Take"

What annoys me about this movie comes in two categories: 1) Form 2) Content

1) Form is "relatively" unimportant as it is a documentary. Never the less I found it annoying with all those shots of statues against a red sky with sad background music. Also the intro was extremely long and dragged on forever. I felt like screaming "Get on with it!!! What are those poor workers doing now?!?!" as the zillion'th shot of abandoned factory halls rolled across the silver screen. And the speak (Argentina's fall from grace + hubris + neo liberal heresy) was to theatrical for my taste. Finally the constant repetitions of a few key messages (with variations) gave a kind of TV-commercial-feeling which didn't help the film's credibility.

2) I found it disturbing that the film was very vague about the "hardcore" economic angle. Especially when the political angle was so clear. This gives an aura of "things not being told because they don't fit into Lewis&Klein's view of the world". I don't know if that is the truth, but i was the feeling I was left with at the end of the film.

All in all not a very good film. It lacks as a documentary (simply too many loose claims that were never proved). As a political statement my notion is that it "preach to the believers" e.g. it targets those who agree on the agenda and confirms their opinion. On the upside though, it does try to set a positive agenda in contrast to for instance Michael Moore's eternal gloom. But they lack Moore's sharp irony and satire which at least would have made this picture entertaining.

The central problem about this movie is this: "Is it a documentary or is it a political statement?"

I rate it 4/10 as it wasn't a total disaster as a political statement (though a bit boring and quite predictable) but neither was it good journalist/documentarist craftsmanship
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Sixteen lefties in search of a dream
rowmorg28 March 2005
No one is more rad-chic than Naomi Klein, with her cool war-resister parents, alternative doctor father and militant feminist mother. She crossed Canada at 16 years old campaigning against nuclear power and wrote a hit book attacking globalisation in her 20s.

Now she has made a feel-good movie out of the economic catastrophe that hit Argentina, by following the weary campaign of unemployed steel workers to join a couple of hundred other factory occupations and take control of their abandoned steel works.

Klein and spouse Avi Lewis were in Argentina for some six months, with a crew of 16 and a budget of about C$1m, so we could certainly expect results. Whether this resounding endorsement of worker co-ops (slogan: Fire The Boss) is quite what the NFB had in mind is not clear.

At a couple of points, I felt the film ruined Argentina offered was about the repulsive imp Carlos Menem and the murderous bourgeois traitors he represented. Who is going to purge those secret policemen who rubbed out some 30,000 lefties? When are those generals going to face a court? Why was Menem not in prison instead of running for president? But the survival tactics of the workers on the ground was a more humane story, and that is to Klein's credit.
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Raises More Questions than it Answers
pdx352513 March 2005
The collapse of Argentina's peso in 2001 threw millions out of work and plunged what had been one of Latin America's most prosperous countries in the 1990s into the kind of economic depression not seen in the United States since the 1930s. Four years later thousands of ruined businesses remain closed. In a handful of cases, though, workers occupied and reopened shut factories, health clinics, and schools as employee-owned and operated- cooperatives.

How Argentine workers did this is a terrific story. Unfortunately, "The Take", a film directed and narrated by anti-globalization activists Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis raises more questions than it answers.

According to Klein and Lewis, Argentine workers now run more than 200 companies employing 15,000 people. To explain how this happened, the movie documents a campaign by unemployed machinists to put a casting parts plant back in business. Along the way, we see examples of other successful cooperatives, including a shop of seamstresses, a ceramic tile manufacturer, and a tractor factory.

The new worker owners featured in "The Take" are earnest and enthusiastic. They are especially moving when describing the effects of years of unemployment and how their lives have improved for the better after returning to work. No one, though, tells us basic facts about these companies, such as whether wages and benefits have gone up or down under cooperatives, how the worker-owned companies pay for their raw materials, who buys their products, and if they make a profit. These are not idle points, as any owner – Argentine worker or multinational plutocrat -- knows.

How does the "The Take" fill up its time? In between interviews with cooperative members about the glories of worker control we get lectures about the lack of differences among candidates in the 2003 Argentine presidential election, the pointlessness of voting, and the failings of the International Monetary Fund. We're also treated to a long slow motion sequence of a street riot in Buenos Aires – complete with Mercedes Sosa soundtrack -- that depicts heroic workers and the equally heroic Klein and Lewis calling each other on their cell phones.

There's a good documentary to be made about what has happened to Argentina's economy and its workers. Klein and Lewis, however, take the easy way out and give us slogans and mushy analysis that leave the audience skeptical and suspicious.

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a message all of us need to hear..
leerufong28 December 2008
namely that there ARE options available to us all.

8/10 for the message of hope, commiseration for our working/unemployed Argentine brothers and sisters.

6/10 for the quality of the film.

there is so much unhappiness among the people of the world that ARE working, let alone those suffering war, poverty/sickness. Billions of workers' tax dollars bailing out banks and corporations, as decisions by the politicians of canada and the u.s.?!? You need to wake up if you do not realize the intent behind such policies. Why do so many people continue to accept idiotic and heartless "bosses" in the workplace? Their positions of power are supported by fear, and violence. We NEED movies like this at the very least to show us all the glimmer of light at the end of OUR long, dark tunnel..

the direct democracy worked towards by the people filmed here, is the democracy i believe in. for me the most important lesson here is that the workers succeeded with the support of their Community.

great things are possible when we work together.


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If it were that easy ...
manuel-pestalozzi31 July 2006
This movie claims, that the situation it presents the viewers with could occur anywhere in the world and that the takeover of closed factories by their workers is a recipe against the negative effect of world wide globalization.

The first assertion is clearly wrong. Argentina is a specific place with a specific history. Its industry was created to serve the home market. Peron's and later the Peronist's power base were the industrial workers whose unions were brought into line with strong arm tactics. Industry has always been a highly politicized affair in that country, it was protected from international competition for a very long time. Therefore nobody invested in the renewal of machinery, in the 1980s they still produced the Ford Falcon model of the 1950s (maybe they still do?). Pepole could always be sure that the export of agricultural produce would support an industry which was neither very productive nor competitive. I think oil producing Venezuela and Iran are in a similar position today (in the way politics, economics and ideologies are mixed together). President Menem – incidentally a Peronist brought to power as the champion of the little man – lifted the protective shield and brought to light the frailty of the legal as well as the economical and social system of Argentina. No wonder many businesses collapsed, leaving huge debts behind.

It defies belief that the adversaries of globalization just think that by putting the lid back on, returning to a protected market, everything will be well. This would neither create fairer conditions nor would it secure more equality or welfare for the future.

For the second assertion the movie surprises with a disconcerting lack of proof. Very little is explained. How do these enterprises pay for raw materials? Where are their markets? How do they find customers? Do they make a profit? Most of these questions are not even addressed although they are essential if the „model" should work. And as much as one can understand the outrage of seeing people willing to work being forced from their place of employment, there are some legal issues which should have been considered. If I understood it right, the workers took the bankrupt factories lock, stock and barrel, leaving the accumulated debts – to who? Mustn't there be some losers around somewhere? Isn't this part of the time-honed Argentine tradition of eating the cake before having it? I regret to say that I found this movie overly romantic and simplistic. It fails to deliver what it promises to do at the outset.
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Argentina's new way
lee_eisenberg23 August 2013
Argentina has long been known as the land of the tango, and saw the growth of a large middle class under Juan Perón. Then, the South American country saw a complete economic collapse in 2001. "The Take", a documentary by Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein, focuses briefly on the neoliberal policies that caused the collapse, but is mostly about how Argentina's workers have resisted. A large number of workers have simply taken over the abandoned factories and formed cooperatives. I guess that I would've liked the documentary better had Lewis and Klein mentioned the progressive governments that were sweeping South America in the 2000s and how they were also a reaction to globalization. But otherwise it's a very good look at Latin America's resistance to neoliberalism. Another documentary focusing on South American resistance is Oliver Stone's "South of the Border", featuring interviews with Hugo Chávez, Rafael Correa, and other leftist leaders.
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Very Badly made one sided documentary
explodingcat10 December 2006
The little dudes taking on the big dudes. We all like to see it, and we love to see them win.

The problem with this documentary is not so much the content but the lack of it. The story of Argentina is told by the film makers, and by the factory workers. Great, but they are not really experts, are they? An academic would have been far more credible. Unfortunately the film makers were loyal to ideas close to their hearts, and they should have been loyal to the truth, wherever that lies, I'm not sure as the film was partisan, to the point of cartoon. Unfortunately i left the cinema thinking it only told me half the story, and as such I couldn't trust it.

Facts were replaced with chants. There was one scene of a riot which tried to make the rioters out to be heroes and the police out to be violent oppressors (rather than people doing a pretty fundamental and difficult job already without having a bunch of people throwing bricks at them)which didn't wash well with me, and the difficult issue of the workers taking a bunch of very expensive equipment was never really explored. Was it intended that those who paid for it would be compensated, or was it to be donated to them in the interests of trying to keep a business running? One of many questions never answered.

The world isn't black and white. This documentary made it out to be just that, and as such, insults an audience which knows better
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The Take
telly-1510 January 2007
As nice, simple, and uplifting as this movie is. There is one big problem. And I am not talking about the complete lack of explanations and important information left out of the movie. I'm talking about the fact that it is made by Naomi Klein, a hack! Her stupid "No Logo" bullshit only translates to other areas of media, now in the form of this Mocumentary. Let's just think here, what is the other option to Globalization? Oh ya, Nationalism! Oops I almost forgot about that, how important it is and how easily it leads everyone down the path of the dark side. It brought us great men like Hitler, Stalin and Mao. Yay for them, but it's just too bad all those people had to die. You die-hard leftist morons are living a Utopic dream which can only be realized in Thomas Moore's book! Utopia literally means "no place" or "no where" and it is safe to say that you guys are always heading in that direction. But I do not doubt that you are making progress in that endeavor. Klein and Lewis are hypocrites. Just look at the places Klein lives in; She has houses in some of the most expensive places in the world. Look at the value of her place in Toronto! These people are like shepherd's of thought, they say "Do as I say, not as I do." Why? To make money and in particular to take yours! They are simply different vessels of the Capitalist thought that is within everyone, and as long you love and support them they will continue to make millions off of the ignorant. People like Klein and Lewis deserve nothing more than the inside of a prison cell with a single copy of the Communist Manifesto to keep them company and to remind them of where it gets people.
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