The Plan That Came From the Bottom Up documentary film


★★★★

Written and Directed by #SteveSprung

Documentary Film Review by #HannahSayer




“This film will capture a unique moment in our history - highly skilled workers showing how to turn swords into ploughshares. It is a vital lesson for us now, as Labour leaders ask questions about common ownership, what we produce and who benefits from the products. We can be inspired by the Lucas workers, by their foresight and imagination. Please support this film, see it, promote it and discuss it. If we want to transform society, this is a good place to start.” #KenLoach, Director


Described as ‘a film letter in parts’, #ThePlanthatcamefromthebottomup is a thought-provoking and extensive video essay which chronicles the extraordinary story of the #LucasAerospaceUK engineers, who forty years ago responded to the threat of redundancy with their own plan of action. The film documents how this group of workers developed alternatives to the military products their company made, including wind turbines and hybrid cars. By having the documentary structured as a video essay, the result is a poetic exploration of this incredibly timely story in history.


The documentary opens with archive footage of a busy scene outside a factory as people are leaving. The voice-over informs the viewer that this is the first film people paid to go and watch in a theatre. The extensive use of archive footage throughout the film is juxtaposed with images and footage from the present, further reinforcing its relevance and importance today. Interviews with the engineers who were involved are interspersed throughout and the documentary is informative and educational without feeling inaccessible to those unfamiliar with the events.


The story being told is from forty years ago, yet it still feels relevant today. The engineers fought back against capitalism and a Western society which only helped and fuelled a certain group within society, while leaving others behind. This positive and inspirational call to arms is constructed meticulously by writer and director Steve Sprung who delves into detail about how this socialist reaction tried to change things for the good by attempting to move on from the ways of the past. The impacts that this had at the time and the reverberations for the future make the film feel like the story its telling is of epic proportions.


The Plan that came from the bottom up details an extraordinary story which still feels timely and relevant in today’s political and economic time of uncertainty. Stories like these being told and highlighted with today’s perspective are more important than ever, and The Plan that came from the bottom up is an inspiring example of taking action to try and do better. I wasn’t aware of this story before, but this ambitious fight to think up better alternatives is a story which needed to be told.