Modern Times written and directed by Charlie Chaplin is a film which is about how the work organizations and society go on in ‘Great Depression’ time in 1930s. The film mostly indicates unemployment, poverty and how it is difficult to survive in those times. To start with, the film starts with our character’s working in the factory. In terms of material side, machinery is used. There is also electricity to run the machines. The manager uses cameras to monitor the workers. All of this power seems to be enough to have efficient production at that time. In terms of organization, we see that there is a factory system with automation of labor process. Each of the workers has his own part of work and this work goes on whole day continuously. This is division of labor. Our character tightens the screws and the two men near him hit the screws with hummer. Furthermore, there is an assembly-line which makes workers’ work more difficult because of the fact that the manager, who is always watching them with the help of cameras, is trying to get them work faster and faster. He calls the responsible worker who makes machine adjustments and wants him to make the pace of the assembly-line faster. When he does this, our character works so fast that after a certain time, he does it unconsciously. He tightens the screws, nothing else. However, he does it without having the conception of what he is doing, why he is doing it and what he will get in the end. He is just doing it. It is funny that when he stops tightening the screws he tries to tighten whatever seems him like screws. He tries to tighten the woman’s buttons. Actually, it is already mentioned while the film starts. We see lots of pigs walking fast. They are animals and they do it without reasoning and thinking. Then we see workers coming to the factory. They are like those animals now. Their memorization of the day starts with going into the factory. It is obvious that they are controlled by standard management system which is very traditional. There is one manager and one foreman. The manager monitors them and warns them when the things are not going on as he wants them to go on. He warns them directly. There is a despotic authority. There is also a hierarchical system. It stars with the workers, and then foreman comes, then the manager and then the boss. There is not only factory as a work organization. There are restaurant and the shopping centre. There is not anything different in regards with organization. The restaurant has the same management system with the factory. Here, the boss even wants more; he tries to exploit the waiters. He wants them to serve to the customers and sing and dance as well. He emphasizes that I pay you; you have to do whatever I want you to do. Even in the jail, there is a despotic management. The guilty men start to eat with the whistle and start to walk again with it. They are just doing which is memorized and unconscious.When it comes to social aspect, we see that people are unhappy. They are not used to factory system, which makes them far from being humans. They resist it. They strike. However, they are powerless and want to work. They are really hungry. They do not have money even to feed themselves properly. Our character and the girl imagine a dinner-table and they imagine that one day they will have a small house and good food. Like in the factory, we see a hierarchy in society because some people have enough money to survive. This is the result of the capitalist system. Our characters want to be happy, live in luxury as we see the scene in the shopping centre: the girl is wearing new clothes and sleeping on a huge new bed.
To sum up, the film demonstrates the working conditions, how the material is used and how these working conditions affect people. We see that the capitalist system which tries to get more but give less to workers is really bad. It goes with modernism, but this does not bring happiness to people. Lastly, I realized that it had already created a kind of American Dream in the people. In the last scene, our character says that ‘Do not give up, we will succeed’ which is the first motto of American Dream which tries to motivate people to work more and more. It is concluded that ‘Modern Times’ are not the happy times.