The Film Society of Lincoln Center‘s CINEMA OF RESISTANCE, a weeklong survey of politically charged films from around the world will screen at The Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. Jean-Luc Godard once declared it was no longer enough to make political films. “One must make films politically,” he said. The 16-film presentation includes fiction and documentary films that have responded to urgent circumstances in precisely this spirit: radical in both content and form, ever mindful of the relationship between politics and aesthetics. Ranging from the Vietnam War to Occupy Wall Street, addressing conflicts in Algeria, Ireland, and Afghanistan, these films offer an essential view of cinema’s historical, and continuing, role in revolutionary culture.
Highlights in the lineup include a number of films spotlighting the Vietnam War. The classic ‘Far From Vietnam‘ is a pastiche of responses and assembled footage from a lineup of New Wave luminaries (Jean-Luc Godard, Alain Resnais, Chris Marker, and more). ‘Winter Soldier’ recounts the tales of abused and murdered civilians from the My Lai massacre and the violence that can occur as a result of flawed military policies. ‘The 17th Parallel‘ records the daily life and struggles of civilians in one of the most volatile regions in the late ’60s – on the border of North and South Vietnam. Peter Watkins’s 5-hour-plus ‘La Commune‘, shot documentary-style, studies the rise and fall of the Paris Commune, the socially progressive government that briefly ruled Paris in 1891 before being brutally suppressed. Robert Kramer’s ‘Ice‘ (1970), shot on black-and-white 16mm, looks at the inner workings of a fictional band of revolutionaries in a dystopian future where America wages war with Mexico and an oppressive fascist regime sets the law of the land. The most expensive African film made during its time, Med Hondo’s ‘West Indies: The Fugitive Slaves of Liberty‘ will be shown after remaining largely out of circulation since it premiered in 1979. This single-set color musical traces the history of the West Indies through several centuries of French oppression.
Filmmakers and activists will be on hand to discuss the role of films, videos, and moving-image work in the Occupy Wall Street movement. Organized in collaboration with Occupy Cinema, a collective that presented screenings at Zuccotti Park, this program presents several observational pieces shot in and around the protests — including newsreels by Jem Cohen (‘Museum Hours’) — alongside films by the Newsreel activist collective of the ’60s and the Workers Film and Photo League of the ’30s.
For more information & tickets to CINEMA OF RESISTANCE – HERE
Films, Descriptions & Schedule
THE 17TH PARALLEL (1968) 113m
Director: Joris Ivens
On the border of North and South Vietnam, civilians live underground and cultivate their land in the dead of night, farmers take up arms, and bombs fall like clockwork. Joris Ivens and Marceline Loridan’s record of daily life in one of the most volatile regions of a war-torn, divided country is both a hazardous piece of first-hand journalism and a shattering work in its own right, simmering with barely repressed anger.
Friday, August 23, 8:30 pm
ATTICA (1974) 80m
Director: Cinda Firestone
“Nothing comes to a sleeper but a dream.” Firestone’s document of the 1971 Attica Prison uprising ended with a wake-up call in favor of penal reform—and then went out of circulation for 33 years. Restored in 2007, Attica details the inhuman living conditions and routine abuses that led thousands of prisoners to seize control of the Attica Correctional Facility. The film sheds light both on a shameful episode in the history of the US prison system and on a pivotal moment in the course of civil rights.
ATTICA courtesy of the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Preservation of this film was made possible by a grant from the Women’s Film Preservation Fund of New York Women in Film and Television.
Sunday, August 25, 2:15 pm
LA COMMUNE (PARIS, 1871) (2000) 345m
Director: Peter Watkins
In March 1871, the Parisian National Guard led an armed insurrection against France’s provisional government, sent the nation’s officials fleeing to Versailles, and transformed the capital city for two months into a socially progressive utopia. Watkins’ study of the Commune’s rise and bloody fall is equal parts meticulous historical evocation, willful anachronism and self-conscious artifice. The film takes the form of a nineteenth-century news broadcast: as an alternative to the steady stream of official propaganda emanating from “Versailles TV,” a handful of journalists enter the Commune, cameras in hand. The result, J. Hoberman wrote in The Village Voice, evokes “the unfamiliar sensation of revolutionary euphoria, or living (and dying) in a sacred time.”
Saturday, August 24, 1:30 pm
FAR FROM VIETNAM (1967) 129m – North American Premiere of new restoration
Directors: Joris Ivens, William Klein, Claude Lelouch, Agnès Varda, Jean-Luc Godard, Chris Marker, Alain Resnais
A lineup of international New Wave luminaries responded to Vietnam, in the words of contributor William Klein, “a little like Picasso confronted by the bombing of Guernica.” Klein’s New York street footage accompanies frontline dispatches from Joris Ivens and contributions from a quartet of French icons (Godard, Resnais, Varda, Lelouch). As edited by Chris Marker, these fragments coalesce into a splintered portrait of a Left consumed with shock and complicity over a conflict beyond its control.
Wednesday, August 28, 9pm to Wednesday, September 4
FAR FROM AFGHANISTAN (2012) 115m – Q&A with director John Gianvito to follow screening
Director: John Gianvito
“Unless you have a personal connection to it,” said filmmaker John Gianvito upon the premiere of Far From Afghanistan “you can go weeks or months with almost no cognizance that we’re involved in a major war.” This modern update of Far From Vietnam consists of five brief vignettes (each the work of a different director) focused on guilt-ridden troops, shattered families, and detached Americans, interspersed with on-the-ground interviews with Afghan civilians. Far From Afghanistan depicts a nation blind to the longest war in its own history, and a soldiery trained to follow orders whose basis and justification remain unknown.
Wednesday, August 28, 6:00 pm
OCCUPY WALL STREET AND BEYOND – Panel discussion to follow
The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, for all their 21st-century trappings, belong to a long lineage of grassroots protest movements and social uprisings. The same goes for the film and video documents that emerged from OWS. Organized in collaboration with Occupy Cinema, a collective that presented screenings at Zuccotti Park and staged their own moving-image interventions, this program presents several observational shorts shot in and around the protests — including newsreels by filmmaker Jem Cohen (Museum Hours) — alongside a selection of kindred historical documents, including films by the Newsreel activist collective of the ’60s and the Workers Film and Photo League of the ’30s.
Thursday, August 29, 8:30 pm
THE HOUR OF THE FURNACES (PART ONE: NOTES AND TESTIMONIES ON NEO-COLONIALISM, VIOLENCE, AND LIBERATION) (1968) 88m
Directors: Octavio Getino and Fernando Solanas
At once a treatise, a manifesto, an essay film, a history lesson, a poem and a battle cry, The Hour of the Furnaces is a classic of revolutionary cinema. Shot under the watchful eye of Argentina’s then-reigning military dictatorship in the early stages of the country’s “dirty war” and edited at a breathless fever pitch, the film functions as a sprawling history of Latin American politics, an incendiary discourse on the evils of neo-colonialism, and a passionate defense of violent action in the face of extreme injustice.
Sunday, August 25, 8:15 pm
ICE (1970) 130m
Director: Robert Kramer
In a dystopian near future, America wages war with Mexico, an oppressive fascist regime sets the law of the land, and a New York-based radical cell prepares for armed revolution. Underground filmmaker and Newsreel co-founder Robert Kramer’s unclassifiable thriller, shot on grainy, black-and-white 16mm, takes a clear-eyed look at the inner workings of a fictional band of revolutionaries whose convictions and disputes were, for the Left of Kramer’s day, anything but fiction. Jonas Mekas called Ice “the most original and most significant American narrative film of the late ’60s.”
Friday, August 23, 3:30 pm
Tuesday, August 27, 6:00 pm
KANEHSATAKE: 270 YEARS OF RESISTANCE (1993) 119m
Director: Alanis Obomsawin
Alanis Obomsawin’s exhaustive documentary concerns a centuries-old land dispute in Oka, Quebec. In 1990, the Mohawks of Kanehsatake, already relegated to a slim reservation and denied any claim to the surrounding land, learned of plans to further restrict their territory in favor of an expanded, members-only golf course. They resisted. Obomsawin watches the resulting summer-long standoff from inside the Mohawk barricades, documents the community’s daily life, records their internal debates, and celebrates their unwavering commitment to a never-ending struggle.
Monday, August 26, 8:45 pm
Tuesday, August 27, 3:30 pm
PARCO LAMBRO JUVENILE PROLETARIAT FESTIVAL (1976) 58m + LIA (1977) 26m
Director: Alberto Grifi
Alberto Grifi (1938–2007) was one of the leading lights of Italian experimental cinema. His pioneering adoption of video in the early 1970s produced some of the decade’s most forward-thinking and challenging works of radical filmmaking. In addition to the newly restored Anna, his portrait of a teenage junkie, there was Lia, a half-hour-long, single-shot record of a woman delivering an impassioned speech against the psychiatric establishment, and Parco Lambro Juvenile Proletariat Festival, a commissioned document of a Woodstock-like music festival that spirals into a full-fledged protest, becoming a reflection on the state of the Italian counterculture. “Grifi,” ran the program notes for a long-awaited retrospective at the Venice Film Festival, “stands for a cinema of constant change, a permanent revolution of vision as well as life, a continuous search for new, meaningful and appropriate forms of togetherness.”
Sunday, August 25, 4:15 pm
THE PATRIOT GAME (1978) 93m
Director: Arthur MacCaig
MacCaig’s thoughtful, probing analysis of Northern Ireland in the throes of revolution recasts what had long been deemed a religious conflict between Protestants and Catholics in political and economic terms: as a struggle between colonizer and colonized, ruling class and working class, oppressor and oppressed. His footage of street riots, police violence and firebomb attacks, shot on the fly and often at great risk, mingle with decades worth of newsreel footage. MacCaig called the IRA’s fight “certainly the most extensive, determined working-class struggle in Europe,” and The Patriot Game is an appropriately extensive, determined work of radical advocacy.
Thursday, August 29, 6:15 pm
PRISONER/TERRORIST (2007) 113m
Director: Masao Adachi
After an early career spent directing avant-garde youth films and collaborating with fellow firebrands Nagisa Oshima and Koji Wakamatsu, Masao Adachi left his native Japan for Beirut, where he joined the Japanese Red Army. Prisoner/Terrorist, Adachi’s first film in 30 years, is a haunting amalgam of historical narrative, personal testimony, and poetic reverie. Imprisoned after participating in an airport massacre, an unnamed JRA member suffers a string of abuses, holds imaginary conversations with famous revolutionaries, and dreams fruitlessly of freedom.
Tuesday, August 27, 8:45 pm
Thursday, August 29, 3:30 pm
TO BE TWENTY IN THE AURES (1972) 93m
Director: René Vautier
In René Vautier’s scathing critique of the Algerian War, several young French pacifists find themselves in a moral and geographic wasteland after being sent off to fight in the desolate Aures mountains. Set amid the dramatic rock faces of northern Algeria, Vautier’s film is a searing look at the horrors and injustices of colonial warfare. Midway through shooting, Vautier was rushed to the hospital after a bomb exploded beside him, lodging fragments of his own camera deep in his skull. They were never removed.
Friday, August 23, 6:15 pm
Wednesday, August 28, 4:00 pm
UNDERGROUND (1976) 87m
Directors: Emile de Antonio, Mary Lampson, Haskell Wexler
For three days, a trio of filmmakers were given an audience with high-ranking members of the Weathermen—a militant faction of the Students for a Democratic Society that, after moving underground, committed itself to the violent overthrow of the U.S. government. At the time of filming, all five subjects were wanted by the FBI. We never see their faces, but their testimonies, set to a collage of clips from the era’s radical documentaries, provide a fascinating look at the mood, texture, and aftereffects of a volatile moment in the history of the US Left.
Friday, August 23, 1:30 pm
Sunday, August 25, 6:15 pm
WEST INDIES: THE FUGITIVE SLAVES OF LIBERTY (1979) 113m
Director: Med Hondo
A single-set color musical tracing the history of the West Indies through several centuries of French oppression, Med Hondo’s hugely ambitious magnum opus was at the time the most expensive African film ever made (it cost $1.35 million). A work of scathing satire and mirthful anger, West Indies has remained largely out of circulation since its premiere in 1979. It’s a story of Western oppression told with the stylistic flourishes of big-budget Western cinema, a distinctly African take on the Hollywood musical, and a one-of-a-kind film primed for rediscovery.
Saturday, August 24, 8:30 pm
Monday, August 26, 3:30 pm
WINTER SOLDIER (1972) 96m
Director: Winterfilm Collective
In February 1971, the Vietnam Veterans Against the War hosted The Winter Soldier Investigation, a media event in which returning troops testified to war crimes committed by American GIs. Their filmed accounts tell of massacred children, prisoners tossed from places, towns burnt down, civilians killed and abused. Even more chillingly, they present a much closer link than is often acknowledged between these outbursts of violence and the military policies under which they were committed. “I always thought this was the most important film we had about this country’s tragic involvement in Vietnam,” Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote in 2005. “And I still do.”
INTERVIEWS WITH MY LAI VETERANS (1971) 22m
Director: Joseph Strick
Joseph Strick (adaptor of such un-adaptable novels as Ulysses and Tropic of Cancer) won an Academy Award for this searing series of interviews with five ex-GIs present at the infamous 1968 My Lai massacre. The men discuss their complicity in the crimes with remarkable candor, their testimonies circling around, hinting at, but never fully resolving a single, unanswerable question: what does it take to transform a group of responsible, dutiful Americans into mass murderers?
Monday, August 26, 6:15pm
Friday, August 23 – Thursday, August 29, 2013
The Film Society of Lincoln Center presents
CINEMA OF RESISTENCE
@ Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center
144 West 65th St.
New York, NY