The Rochdale Pioneers

John Montegrande & Adam Lee Hamilton | 2012 | ★★★½
Montegrande and Hamilton’s lovingly crafted film, made to tie in with the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives, depicts the struggles that The Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers had setting up its first co-operative shop in deepest, darkest Lancashire in 1844. Shunned by landlords, shopkeepers, and wholesalers alike, the society’s members were made to go to great lengths in order to achieve their dream – like huffing a wheelbarrow 15 miles to Manchester just to get stock – with the odd pessimistic member proving a further burden. Never the less, with hard work, determination, ingenuity, and togetherness they eventually manage to live up to their grand name. Transportingly dour photography, no-nonsense plotting, and some fine performances combine to entertaining effect.