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)



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

Juan Carlos Velazquez & Dorleta Murguialday – Muslims and the Leftists (An In-depth Insight into the All-embracing Ideologies of Islam) (2014)

In spite of the fact that there are no exact statistics available about the number of Muslims in Spain, it is estimated that about 25,000 individuals have converted to Islam out of whom 10,000 people have converted within the last five years. A great number of these people live in Andalusia (3,500) and Catalonia (3,000).The phenomenon of conversion has seen a lot of changes in this country throughout years. Some of the individuals involved, for instance, established leftist organizations in the Andalusia region in the 80s.
“Muslims and the Leftists” examines the formation of such organizations against the backdrop of political, social, and religious context of different times and ages up to now. The interviewees in this documentary discuss the status quo of such organizations in Spain, probe into the ways through which Islam has influenced the Leftist parties and their members in Spain, talk about how Islam has impacted on social and political lives in the country in general, and put into perspective the way the non-Muslim community views Muslims in modern Spain Continue reading

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



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)


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)


(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