Bread and Roses Review

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A Latino janitor scrubbing floors in an LA office block realises how she and other unskilled workers are being exploited by the State.


A Ken Loach movie made in LA (his first made on North Amerian soil), this concentrates on inhabitants of the city invisible in mainstream movies - the janitors who work by night in the offices of wealthy agencies.

Illegal immigrant Maya (Padilla) hooks up with funky union organiser Sam (Brody) by helping him elude pursuing security guards. Sam's goal is to unionise the building, and there's a lot of background about LA labour history, with the erosion of pay and benefits as a flood of cheap labour from Central America (and Europe) enables non-union companies to underbid for cleaning contracts.

Loach's best films are as much people as politics, but off British turf he tends to turn out lesser works. A somewhat awkward plot, and too many scenes consisting of people in meetings or singing protest songs.