Politics

Zdenek Podskalský – Bílá paní AKA The White Lady (1965)

Synopsis:
This castle has its own ghost – a mysterious White lady. She emerges from the painting on the wall when someone speaks out magic formula. White lady is a good ghost, she can make someone’s wishes true. Even if it is a new duct. But a miracle is not the thing that Communist leaders want in the town. Read More »

Sylvain George – L’impossible – Pages Arrachées (Songs from the protests) (2009)

Situated in the vein of Rimbaud, Lautréamont, Dostoievski and Benjamin and of free jazz and punk, this film bears witness to the iniquitous policies that shape our era, the “infernal” nature of certain political lives or black bodies (those of immigrants, emigrants, workers, the unemployed, students…). It operates, as a minority film, in a critical stasis of mythical and mainstream realities, and deals with the issue of revolt and insurrection: excesses, disidentification, unclear reconfiguration… We are presented, through a dialectical reversal, “non-places” that cannot be assimilated, utopias, corps-impossibles. Read More »

John Sayles – Matewan (1987)

Independent filmmaker John Sayles creates one of his more artistic works with this period feature about a volatile 1920s labor dispute in the town of Matewan, West Virginia. Matewan is a coal town where the local miners’ lives are controlled by the powerful Stone Mountain Coal Company. The company practically owns the town, reducing workers’ wages while raising prices at the company-owned supply and grocery. The citizens’ land and homes are not their own, and the future seems dim. When the coal company brings immigrants and minorities to Matewan as cheaper labor, union organizer Joe Kenehan (Chris Cooper) scours the town to unite all miners in a strike. Read More »

Mohamed Fadel – Nasser 56 (1996)

During the summer of 1956, Egypt under President Gamal Abdul Nasser became embroiled in a conflict with Great Britain, France and Israel over the decision by the Egyptian leader to nationalize the Suez Canal in the wake of the refusal of the United States, and consequently the World Bank, to fund the construction of the Aswan High Dam. This pivotal period in the modern history of Egypt has been intelligently recreated in docu-drama style in a critically acclaimed film, “Nasser 56,” by Egyptian director Mohamed Fadel and starring Egyptian actor Ahmad Zaki as Nasser. Read More »

Walter Heynowski – O.K. (1964)

Quote:
This fascinating and unique film is unfortunately almost entirely unknown in the West. The girl Doris S. leaves East Germany in 1961 to join her father in West Germany. Three years later, she returns and tells the camera why she returned. The reason is simple: West Germany is a country or moral and sexual corruption, full of bars, American soldiers, American cars, alcohol, and prostitution. Doris S. succumbed to both commercial sex and drinking, but finally decided to return to clean living in East Germany. Clearly designed to discourage actual or potential emigration from East into West Germany, the film nevertheless operates on a second, unintended level as well. For in this lengthy interview, Doris reveals non-verbal and unmistakable signs of fear and coercion, reinforced by the stentorian, Prussian style of the interviewer (rather, cross-examiner). Read More »

Robert Kane Pappas – Orwell Rolls in His Grave (2003)

Synopsis:
A documentary analyzing the role of the modern American media and its effects on democracy.

Review:
The middle child to Joel Bakan and Harold Crooks’s The Corporation and Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, Robert Kane Pappas’s Orwell Rolls in His Grave is an expert piece of investigative journalism that likens our media system to a subsidiary of our country’s corporate process. Polemically, Pappas’s incendiary media watchdog is closer in tone to Moore’s anti-Bush rant, but aesthetically it shares more in common with Bakan and Crooks’s Power-Point-ish exposé of corporate greed. Read More »

Gillo Pontecorvo – Operación Ogro [Spanish version] (1979)

As 1973 winds down, Franco is still governing Spain with an iron hand. Opposition parties are forbidden; labor movements are repressed; and Basque nationalists are mercilessly hunted down. The caudillo [dictator] is aging, though, and the continuity of the régime is in question. One man has the trust of Franco, enough authority and experience to assume the leadership, and an impeccable track record as to dealing with enemies of the State: Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco. For the embattled, clandestine Basque organization ETA, Carrero Blanco must be brought down. Daring plans are made, requiring a meticulous execution…
— Eduardo Casais, IMDb Read More »