May 15, 1985
(English translation from the original French)
The Killing Floor (literally the site of the slaughter), by black American filmmaker Bill Duke, is a powerful, very surprising film, in a genre of which we do not have the equivalent in France, about the union struggles in Chicago between 1917 and 1919. The protagonists are the workers from the southern plantations who have come to try their luck, as well as newly arrived European immigrants who do not yet speak English, all of whom are thrown together in the same epic struggle to earn a living.
Unionism should unite them against the management of the stockyards, where the action takes place. Well documented and researched, brilliantly acted by Damien Leake in the principal role, The Killing Floor displays another sort of militancy, above all narrative and carefully concerned with objectivity and accuracy.