One of the most talked about, and timely, movies released this summer is Boots Riley's Sorry to Bother You. This anti-corporate satire in the age of Amazon tackles a lot more than just consumerism including race, gender, and class in a surreal tapestry that never goes where you expect. Lakeith Stanfield, from FX's Atlanta plays Cassius Green, a down on his luck character living in his uncle's garage who goes to work for a dingy telemarketing company promising its workers a better world just above its floor. However, that floor is reserved for "power callers" who make major sales. One day after several days of failure, Cassius's fellow co-worker, played by Danny Glover, tells him to use his "white voice" to help make sales, and from there his career takes off and things truly get weird. So if you're looking for more surreal and/or anti-capitalist cinema we have some recommendations below.
Putney Swope: Probably the closest to a spiritual forebear to Sorry to Bother You is Robert Downey Sr.'s corporate satire Putney Swope. While not as surreal this satire also tackles race and corporate culture as the only black man on an executive board at an advertising agency takes over after the chairman suddenly dies. From there he replaces all of the monied white men with Black Power apostles and renames the company "Truth and Soul Inc." So if you enjoyed the satirical, anti-capitalist, and anti-racist thematic concerns of Sorry to Bother You this is definitely one film you should check out.
Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song: Sweet Sweetback is the story of Sweetback who one night is falsely arrested by white police officers, and on his way to the police station witnesses police severely beat a young Black Panther. This prompts Sweetback to attack the officers and get away, but after being turned away by his employer, Sweetback must then go on the run in this landmark of Black Power cinema that debatably led to the creation of the Blaxploitation genre in the 1970s. The film was almost entirely financed and produced by the filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles, who was forced to put up his own money after a white financier wanted him to make a satire about white liberalism, and Van Peebles wanted to make a film about Black Power.
Repo Man: This cult film from the 1980's stars Emilio Estevez as a broke young punk rocker who goes to work for a Repo Man looking for a car that may be connected to extraterrestrials. This anti-consumerist comedy has a punk rock angle that differs from Sorry to Bother You, but its increasingly crazy plot mechanics and idiosyncratic aesthetic should appeal to fans of the film.
10,000 Black Men Named George: If you're looking for a film with a more conventional narrative, but one that still tackles the topics of race and the rights of workers, try the film 10,000 Black Men Named George about the first black-controlled union. The film tells the story of the Pullman porters who worked the railway cars of America in the 1920s, and who formed a union to fight for better pay and working conditions.