As costs for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia spiraled to in excess of $50 billion dollars, Putin’s Games goes behind the scenes to investigate why the first Winter Games to be held in a sub-tropical resort have become the most expensive Olympics ever. With extraordinary access to top government officials and wealthy Russian businessmen, the documentary follows the preparations from the early stages, exposing alleged corruption, the sky-rocketing budget and the big winners and losers. Continue reading
The politics of the past and present begin to merge during the making of a motion picture in this drama from director Icíar Bollaín. Spanish movie director Sebastián (Gael García Bernal) and his producer Costa (Luis Tosar) have arrived in Bolivia to shoot a picture about Columbus’ exploration and exploitation of the New World. While Sebastián has come to Bolivia for realistic scenery, Costa has chosen the location for the cheap and abundant supply of labor. An open casting call for extras attracts far more people than the picture needs, but when Costa tries to send them away, one would-be actor, Daniel (Juan Carlos Aduviri), makes a strong and eloquent case for fair treatment of the locals, and Sebastián casts him as Hatuey, the chief of a native tribe who fought the invading Spaniards. As Sebastián stages scenes of revolt against would-be colonists, a real battle is brewing in Colombia — the government has privatized the national water works, and the price of water has jumped by 300 percent, leading to protests and riots in the streets of Cochabamba. Daniel is one of the activists protesting price gouging for something as essential as water — will Sebastián and his colleagues join him in speaking out against this injustice? También la Iluvia (aka Even the Rain) was an official selection at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. Continue reading
“Ruth Stoops is a poor indigent drug-user (a huffer – inhaling glue and paint for a high) whose down and out existence is complicated once more by becoming pregnant (she has had and lost four children already). When a judge orders that she gets an abortion or face a felony charge, she is befriended by Gail Stoney, a pro-lifer whose husband is president of the local ‘Babysavers’ group. Suddenly Ruth is thrust into the middle of the pro-choice/pro-life struggle, with each side wanting her to take their side as a ‘message’ to others – and the situation escalates…” Continue reading
Tahmineh Milani’s “The Fifth Reaction”
An Iranian Woman Fighting for Her Rights
By Josef Schnelle
Five women sit in a restaurant in Tehran and talk about their husbands and their marriages. First, the conversations are quite amusing, but later on we notice that each woman faces serious problems below the thin surface of legal rights granted to women in Iran. Continue reading
Following his passionate involvement in the 1968 demonstrations (Maselli was one of the supporters of the protest at the 1969 Venice Biennial), he made two explicitly “political” films, Lettera aperta ad un giornale della sera (1970) and Il sospetto di Francesco Maselli (1975). In Lettera ad un giornale della sera, which prompted fierce discussion about the idea of “political commitment” amongst left-wing intellectuals, Maselli played one of the characters, thereby openly involving himself in the debate, together with Nanni Loy and other politically active colleagues and friends.
For this film, Maselli used a style which in many ways was similar to certain paradigms of “cinema-verité”: the film was shot in 16 mm with heavy use of the zoom, the hand-held camera and out-of-sync sound.
Maselli returned to a more relaxed cinematic language and a more concise structure with Il sospetto. Dubbed “one of the best political films of all time”, it was set in the year of the “turning-point” (1934), one of the most important moments in the evolution of the Communist party.
Gian Maria Volonté gave a splendid performance in the role of Emilio, the protagonist, a militant Communist who has emigrated to France, embroiled in an affair so fraught that it turns into a thriller. Continue reading
The Social Democratic party was originally founded as the political arm of German Marxism. Extremely successful in mobilizing support in the working class, it was almost from the first torn by a question it never successfully resolved. Was the purpose of the party to advance the cause of the working class through legal, democratic means, or as it simply to represent those interests as best it could until capitalism collapsed from its contradictions and gave way to socialism? This debate continued more or less up until the defining moment for European socialism, the outbreak of World War I, and it is this context that ROSA LUXEMBURG dramatizes. The right-wing of the party, which believed in legal means, like their counterparts across Europe sided with their national governments and voted in favor of war. These right wing socialists were also entrusted with leading the German state after the Armistice. Continue reading
A look at a rally to free Huey Newton. Continue reading