Leo Hurwitz

Leo Hurwitz & Paul Strand – Native Land [+Extra] (1942)

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Paul Robeson narrates a mix of dramatizations and archival footage about the bill of rights being under attack during the 1930s by union busting corporations, their spies and contractors. In dramatizations, we see a Michigan farmer beaten for speaking up at a meeting, a union man murdered in an apartment in Cleveland, two sharecroppers near Fort Smith Arkansas shot by men deputized by the local sheriff, a spy stealing the names of union members, and a dead Chicago union man eulogized. In archival footage we witness police and goons beating lawfully assembled union organizers, and we see men at work and union families at play. The narration celebrates patriotism and democracy. Read More »

Leo Hurwitz – Dialogue with a Woman Departed (1980)

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The late filmmaker Leo Hurwitz created this documentary tribute to his deceased wife Peggy Lawson by mixing both actual footage of historical events, clips from his own films, and personal remembrances of her life. Lawson was a partner in Hurwitz’s cinematic endeavors and shared his commitment to political and social change. Hurwitz brings up images from the Great Depression, from the persecution of union organizers and laborers in the 1930s, through his blacklisting in the ’50s, and the demonstrations against the Vietnam War in the following decade. These years of turbulence are contrasted with scenes from nature, images of Lawson, and attempts to convey what she meant to him. These two aspects — private and public — are woven together to form the main theme of this very personal documentary, winner of an International Film Critics prize. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, All Movie Guide Read More »