Robert Mullan – We Will Sing aka Mes Dainuosime (2015)

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A group of people -students, an elderly couple, a violinist searching for her husband (taken by the KGB), anxious parents, a priest and others- find themselves in the same place, on the evening of January 12, 1991. They are defending their newly-established freedom against the Soviet occupiers. They position themselves at the Television Tower where the Soviet troops are trying to take control of communications (under the orders of Mikhail Gorbachev). The protesters are unarmed. New friendships are formed. But soon the tanks and troops advance and threaten the singing protesters. Continue reading

Thom Andersen & Noël Burch – Red Hollywood (1996)

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Thom Andersen and Noël Burch’s provocative documentary looks with fresh eyes at “Red” Hollywood—films by screenwriters and directors who were communists, ex-communists, or sympathizers and who were in some way implicated by the Hollywood investigations of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Drawing on their extensive research and an array of arresting film clips, as well as on the reminiscences of blacklisted artists Paul Jarrico, Ring Lardner, Jr., Alfred Levitt, and Abraham Polonsky, the video reveals the degree to which the Hollywood left was able to tint movies with its political convictions. Taking issue with Billy Wilder’s oft-quoted put-down, “Of the Unfriendly Ten, only two had talent, the other eight were just unfriendly,” Red Hollywood reveals a largely neglected Hollywood legacy: films committed to raising questions regarding class, gender, and racism. Films that questioned the System itself—whether capitalism or the studio—and were answered with the blacklist. —Pacific Film Archive Continue reading

Aleksandr Medvedkin – Noch Nad Kitaem AKA Night Over China (1971)

Description: Soviet documentary “defending the Chinese people from their enemies, the Maoists”. NB: The film clearly documents the activities of the Red Guards although it never mentions them by name. This has been reflected in the cataloguing. Also, ‘Peking’ has been used instead of ‘Beijing’, again to reflect the content of the film. Continue reading

Lita Stantic – Un muro de silencio AKA A Wall of Silence (1993)

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A Wall of Silence (1993 ) , the debut of the famous film producer Lita Stantic , is an episode of collective biography of the generation of 68 in Argentina who lived optimism of the sixties and seventies brutal repression and now remakes his life in a democracy based on oblivion. Unlike many Argentine films that address the issue of missing persons, ‘A Wall’ leans more towards the historical and political approach, which also adopted in this article , analyzing the references to optimism of El Cordobazo and around Peron dictatorship and the development of democracy since 1983. We consider the contributions of filmmakers Lita Stantic and Maria Luisa Bemberg – members for a decade – to the Argentinian film and end with a question about the importance of the recovery of the memory in the current Argentina society. Continue reading

Philippe Garrel – Liberté, la nuit (1983)

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“Liberté, la nuit, a title with a comma in the middle for a film divided in two parts. A film in black and white with a dark side and a jovial side. The first part of the title evokes politics, as the story recalls the days of the Algerian War of Independence; the second part represents the mood that hovers over the eminently painful images. There isn’t even a hint of daylight in the freedom of the title. It only lives metaphorically in the darkness and languor of the night.” — description by Violeta Kovacsics in the book “Philippe Garrel: Filmmaking Revealed” Continue reading

Alain Tanner – Messidor (1979)

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Two Swiss girls around twenty, one a history student and the other a store clerk, meet while hitch-hiking. Out of a whim and with nothing better to do, they decide to go on hitch-hiking together around Switzerland as long as they feel like it. After a couple of days, their money is spent in restaurants and cheap hotels, so they continue their tour by sleeping in cattle sheds and asking for money and accommodation from people. An unexpected discovery, a gun found in a car’s glove compartment, gradually turns their methods somewhat more dramatic. Written by Markku Kuoppamäki (IMDB). Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard & Jean-Pierre Gorin – Letter to Jane: An Investigation About a Still (1972)

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Synopsis:

A propaganda photo of Jane Fonda talking to, or perhaps listening to, a Vietnamese militant provides the jumping off point for one of cinema’s most stringent semiotic analyses in Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Pierre Gorin’s singular Letter to Jane: An Investigation About a Still. Ostensibly an explanation of Godard’s choice to include a non-diegetic photograph of star Jane Fonda in his promotional materials for Tout va bien, the film is more accurately described as having not Fonda, but the entire apparatus of commercial image-making, as its real target. The basic question at hand here, “What role should intellectuals play in revolution?” is complicated by Godard’s insistence upon the power of media to provide latent insight into the uncaring, status-quo preserving power of capitalism. Continue reading