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

Various – Loin Du Vietnam AKA Far From Vietnam (1967)

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Synopsis by Dan Pavlides
Six directors combined efforts for this 1967 documentary, a searing anti-American indictment of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Alain Resnais, William Klein, Joris Ivens, Agnes Varda, Claude Lelouch, and Jean-Luc Goddard all direct segments. They are quick to point out that the U.S. is radically divided about their country’s policy to stop the threat of communism. Continue reading

Errol Morris – The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara [+Extras] (2003)

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Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader wrote:
In The Fog of War, Errol Morris interviews an 84-year-old Robert S. McNamara, who served as secretary of defense under presidents Kennedy and Johnson and is widely regarded as the architect of the American war in Vietnam. There’s something undeniably masterful about the film, which also includes archival footage, but that mastery is what sticks in my craw: it’s a capacity to say as little as possible while giving the impression of saying a great deal, a skill shared by McNamara and Morris. I’m not sure what we have to gain from this — the satisfaction that we’re somehow taking care of business when we’re actually fast asleep? Continue reading

Agnieszka Holland – Goraczka aka Fever (1981)

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Quote:
The film is set in 1905, in a time of feverish revolutionary underground activity in Poland partitioned between three neighbours. All the characters are committed anarchists. The bomb maker puts an invention together to place it at the disposal of young inexperienced terrorists fighting against Tsarist oppression. The story follows the passing of this bomb from anarchist to anarchist as several attempts are made on the life of Tsarist governor general, until, at the end, it is effectively and harmlessly defused by a bomb expert. The presence of the bomb has a destroying effect on all of the Polish revolutionaries, they either die or breakdown. Written by Polish Cinema Database Continue reading