I must admit that on occasion I have felt as if I were in a Charles Chaplin movie, and that is Modern Times. I have been engaged in jobs in which I have chain processed an indeterminate number of information, within a chain production. I ate at the wrong time and at some point I thought they were going to install the machine that would feed me.
Already at the beginning of the film we see the hand of a big clock turning until it reaches six o'clock. Then sheep appear, which in a montage effect relate this flock to the people who come out of the mouth of the subway and go to work in order to make a living.
This film is a critique of a methodology that supposedly allows to take advantage, in a better way, of the working day without wasting time and money in the production process, thus reaching the maximum levels of productivity and, therefore, prosperity.
They also show us: the division and specialization of labor, principles of authority, respect, discipline and unity of command.
Chaplin dynamites all these statements famous for being the basis of the Classical Theory of Management (Taylor and Fayol).
The demanding working conditions in an assembly line (as Henry Ford did in his company), lead Charlot to lose his mind.
With the huge screens with which the factory workers are monitored, the film anticipated the era of Skype, Zoom and WhatsApp.
Leaving the hospital he is accidentally part of a protest held by workers.
He is then imprisoned, this time unwittingly falling victim to the consumption of a somewhat illicit white powder.
This film despite presenting all this critical load to industrialization, dehumanization and savage capitalism is very human, the individual loses his mind but quickly befriends a poor and hungry girl who will accompany him in his struggle for survival. Charlot changes with her arrival as she makes him reconsider what he seeks for his life.
This is the last film in which he played his iconic character of Charlot and in it Chaplin makes use of his soundtrack to introduce some dialogue and sounds.
Chaplin makes the most of his character without the need for dialogue. He is accompanied by a great cast, in which Paulette Goddard stands out.
I am an administrator and by the year I started studying this profession in 1985 I had already seen this classic film, a must-see in Chaplin's filmography. There was a subject called Introduction to Management, where we were taught the theories of Taylor and Fayol, the fathers of modern management, I immediately connected with this film and I must tell you that I learned more from Chaplin than from the subject. I was never told what Wild Capitalism was, instead Chaplin shows it to me in a simple, entertaining and comical way.
As I said at the beginning, on many occasions I have felt overwhelmed and on the verge of going crazy because I have found myself doing work tasks not far from the ones Chaplin presents in Modern Times. I have been required to meet deadlines, assigned specific tasks, I have been closely monitored to ensure that I do my job and although I have not worked in manufacturing the treatment has been very similar to that of the bosses and foremen of the film.
In order to rest, I have been running out of these workplaces to oxygenate my brain.
The work stress caused me two types of disorders: diabetes and a nephritic colic.
Saving the distances, I consider that this film is of a rabid actuality since it reflects poverty, exploitation at work, work stress, low wages, technological innovations and their misuse which affects the rights of workers.
Besides being very funny Chaplin writes for the film an everlasting melody called Smile that has had many versions over the years and has even been adapted to be sung by famous artists such as Judy Garland and Michael Jackson.
Despite all the circumstances and mistakes made, we must smile to find that life is still worth living and that we have much to do and enjoy.
This is my participation in the initiative Cine TV Contest #37 - Favorite Movie About Work Link Here. I hope you had a good time reading the publication and that we reflect on an old saying: You have to work to live, not live to work. Don't let work consume your life.
Here I leave what in my opinion is the best version of Smile after Chaplin's instrumental, thanks for reading and good luck to all the participants:
Source of the first image Source