Mikhail Romm – Obyknovennyy fashizm AKA A Night of Thoughts AKA Triumph Over Violence (1965)

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Synopsis:

A collage of documentary and chronicle footage from various German and Soviet archives, attempting to reconstruct the experience of the citizens of the Third Reich and to grasp the essence of totalitarian regime. The footage is accompanied by director’s commentary, analyzing the imagery.

Romm’s “Ordinary Fascism” pulls out all the stops in its selection of documentary material to draw the viewer not only into absolute horror about fascism and nazism in the 1920s-1940s Europe, but also to a firmest of convictions that nothing of the sort should be allowed to happen again anywhere in the world. The film was released in 1965, in the Soviet Union’s heyday at the height of the great societal and intellectual “thaw” that followed the Stalin’s death and the denunciation of Stalin’s totalitarianism by Nikita Khruschev. Never explicitly mentioning any of them explicitly, the film targets tyranny and despotism no matter what form they may take. Continue reading

Göran Olsson – Concerning Violence (2014)

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Quote:
A new feature documentary by Göran Hugo Olsson

Concerning Violence is a bold and fresh visual narrative from Africa based on archive material from Swedish documentaries 1966-1987 covering the most daring moments in the struggle for liberation from colonial rule. This powerful footage is combined with text from Frantz Fanon’s landmark book The Wretched of the Earth – written in 1960 and still a major tool for understanding and illuminating the neocolonialism happening today, as well as the unrest and the reactions against it.

“Colonialism is not a thinking machine, nor a body endowed with reasoning faculties. It is violence in its natural state, and it will only yield when confronted with greater violence.”

“Come comrades, the European game is finally over; we must look for something else. We can do anything today provided we do not ape Europe, provided we are not obsessed with catching up with Europe. Europe has gained such a mad and reckless momentum that it has lost control and reason and is heading at dizzying speed towards the brink from which we would be advised to remove ourselves as quickly as possible.”

-Frantz Fanon Continue reading

Patricio Guzmán – Chile, la memoria obstinada AKA Chile, the Obstinate Memory (1997)

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(Chicago reader capsule ) :
“Released in three parts, Patricio Guzman’s epic documentary The Battle of Chile (1975-’79) captured such critical events as the bombing of the presidential palace during the 1973 military coup, but it wasn’t screened in Chile until the 1990s. That belated premiere inspired Guzman to make this 1997 documentary, in which clips from the earlier film are threaded among interviews and powerful sequences showing the reactions of Chilean viewers. Whereas The Battle of Chile uses voice-over narration to summarize its on-the-spot footage, manipulated only minimally by editing, Chile, Obstinate Memory is more expansive. Without ignoring or hyperbolizing the way politics affects our sense of the past, it presents many galvanizing moments; at one point a viewer who was a child during the coup shamefacedly recalls his pleasure at being allowed to stay home from school” Continue reading

Patricio Guzmán – The Battle of Chile (3): The Power of the People (1978)

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Synopsis of Part 3:
THE BATTLE OF CHILE (3): The Power of the People (1978) deals with the creation by ordinary workers and peasants of thousands of local groups of “popular power” to distribute food, occupy, guard and run factories and farms, oppose black market profiteering, and link together neighborhood social service organizations. First these local groups of “popular power” acted as a defense against strikes and lock-outs by factory owners, tradesmen and professional bodies opposed to the Allende government, then increasingly as Soviet-type bodies demanding more resolute action by the government against the right. Continue reading

Patricio Guzmán – The Battle of Chile (2): The Coup d’Etat (1976)

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Synopsis of Part 2:
THE BATTLE OF CHILE (2): The Coup d’Etat (1976) opens with the attempted military coup of June, 1973 which is put down by troops loyal to the government. It serves as a useful dry run, however, for the final showdown, that everyone now realizes is coming. The film shows a left divided over strategy, while the right methodically lays the groundwork for the military seizure of power. The film’s dramatic concluding sequence documents the coup d’etat, including Allende’s last radio messages to the people of Chile, footage of the military assault on the presidential palace, and that evening’s televised presentation of the new military junta. Continue reading

Patricio Guzmán – The Battle of Chile (1): The Insurrection of the Bourgeoisie (1975)

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Synopsis of Part 1:
THE BATTLE OF CHILE: The Insurrection of the Bourgeoisie (1975) examines the escalation of rightist opposition following the left’s unexpected victory in Congressional elections held in March, 1973. Finding that democracy would not stop Allende’s socialist policies, the right-wing shifted its tactics from the polls to the streets. The film follows months of activity as a variety of increasingly violent tactics are used by the right to weaken the government and provoke a crisis. Continue reading