Film characters often happen to work, whether as employees or as employers, consumers, civil servants or bankers. How do directors and actors imagine and portray the life of these characters, who are strongly involved in the organisation of labour, human and social relations at work, business strategies, contexts of expansion, innovation and cooperation, but also situations of competition, crisis, unemployment and conflict? Does the artist’s eye, often original, sometimes critical, even fierce, tell us something useful about labour and business economics?

In order to contribute to the debate on these issues, the Cité de l’économie presents a selection of 37 films that illustrate the themes of work and business.

From 1924 to 2012. From Eisenstein to Maillot, not to mention Renoir, Lubitsch, Ford, Tati, Wajda, Schrader, Klapisch, Loach, the Dardenne brothers, Kaurismaki, Corneau, Von Trier, Ozon, etc.

From drama to comedy, but also historical films, animated films, etc.

Each film is presented within an interactive timeline, with a short summary of the economic aspects related to work and the corporate world. It is also accompanied by an illustration: a poster, a photo or a trailer.

Resources “To find out more” are available for each film: a link to the film’s IMDb (International Movie Database) page (in English) and a link to the Wikipedia page (in French).

We hope that this filmography will inspire you and guide you in your future choice of films, but also provide a different, complementary, way of looking at the concepts, issues and debates on work and business.

We hope that it will be especially useful for teachers, pupils and students in the framework of inter-disciplinary studies.

This selection does in no way claim to be exhaustive. Do not hesitate to inform us of other films that you believe should be included in this filmography in the "Comments" section below.



We would also like to point out two websites devoted to resources on the use of films for educational purposes:

- Zéro de conduite, partner of the CANOPE network, which offers special dossiers prepared by teachers; 

- Le site des SES de l’ENS de Lyon (website of the SES-ENS Lyon) which gathers links, notably to academic and teachers’ websites.


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Published on 05 February 2015. Updated on 18 January 2022