Into Our Own Hands

France 2010, Documentary, 87’ | Director, Screenplay, DoP Mariana Otero | Editor Anny Danché | Sound Benjamin Bober, Pierre Carrasco | Music Frédéric Fresson | Production Archipel 35, Centre Nationale de la Cinématographie (CNC), Centre Images

Synopsis
»It’s a kind of political and economic comedy: at times serious, at times humorous.«
Mariana Otero

The Starissima lingerie factory has gone bankrupt and the employees face unemployment. However, they refuse to give up all hope and decide to run the factory on a cooperative basis. They thus form a coop (in French: a »scop« = Société Coopérative et Participative) and embark on an adventure of entrepreneurialism. They soon begin to discover what it really means to transform a company into a cooperative. After all, behind the basic definition of »cooperative« is the idea that employees are majority owners and that the Shareholders’ General Meeting can determine the strategic direction of the company by means of a simple majority. That, in turn, means that Starissima vests and panties can only continue to be manufactured if the workforce on its own can come up with at least 51% of the share capital. The more the project develops, the more the employees come into conflict with their former boss – as well as with the realities of the capitalist market and its laws. And the adventure evolves into an object lesson about solidarity and the willingness to commit.

 

Biography
Born 1963 in Rennes, France, Mariana Otero studied humanities there before completing an MA at University Paris VIII. In 1985, she began a course of study at the Institut des Hautes Études Cinématographiques (Institute of Advanced Cinematographic Studies), graduating in 1988. She has made numerous documentary films. In 1994, she directed the six-part documentary series La Loi du Collège (College Law), which was screened on ARTE, the French/German TV arts channel. In her Histoire d’un Secret, released in 2003, she tells the story of her mother who died from the effects of a secret abortion.

 

Films by Mariana Otero
Qui de Nous Deux 2006 | Histoire d’un secret 2003 | Nous voulons un autre monde 2001 | Cette télévision est à la votre 1997 | La loi du collège 1994

 

Mariana Otero
France
2010
Documentary
2012
Panorama