The Film Comment Podcast: Stewart Bird and Deborah Shaffer on The Wobblies
For this week’s podcast, Film Comment co-deputy editor Clinton Krute sat down with filmmakers Stewart Bird and Deborah Shaffer, the duo behind the 1979 documentary The Wobblies. The film tells the story of the Industrial Workers of the World, the radical labor union that nearly brought American industry to its knees in the early years of the 20th century. With The Wobblies, Stewart and Deborah painted a moving, and eye-opening portrait of a movement. Weaving together remarkable oral histories with stunning archival material, the film stands out as much for its subtle formal innovations as for the history it details—much of which still retains the power to shock.
With a new restoration coming to theaters on May 1, or International Workers’ Day, and the film’s recent induction into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress, The Wobblies is once again in the public eye, and the story it tells remains as relevant as ever.