Alliance sponsors "Anarchists and Film"
In our era of accelerating global capitalism, where
constant upheaval of every kind-political, social, economic, cultural,
environmental-is the rule, the search for a social system that brings
prosperity with justice has never been sought by so many people.
The history of anarchism, which dates back to mid-19th- century
France and Russia, is based on utopia, the ideal of
mutual aid and voluntary cooperation, in lieu of control by the
state or private concentrations of power.
Perhaps better known for the means (or perhaps failures, in achieving
its goals) rather than the ends desired, anarchist philosophy nonetheless
lies at the heart of numerous activist causes (left and right) worldwide
and has shaped our popular and political culture in countless ways.
Today, both in terms of internal structure and external goals, much
of our approach to social change is indebted to the anarchist imagination.
Yet for a broader public, the spectrum of anarchist ideals remains
outside the confines of common understanding, ignored as outmoded,
equated with failed Marxism-Communism, thought to be the dangerous
(terrorist) passion of the underclass or simply the nihilism of
the young. But the continuing inquiry by writers, historians, artists,
activists and filmmakers into the subject suggests that its relevance
to our globalist present continues. We hope this series offers insight
into the revolutionary desire for a better world.
Special thanks to series curator Pietro Ferrua, founder of the International
Center for Research on Anarchism. This festival is cosponsored by
The Portland Alliance.
MAY 2 FRI 7:30 P.M.
An Injury to One
DIRECTOR: Travis Wilkerson. Wilkersons captivating portrait
tells the inter-twined stories of the town of Butte, Montana, the
notorious Anaconda Copper Mining Company, and a long-forgotten event
the lynching of Wobbly union organizer Frank Little. As it delves
into a complex history, An Injury to One tells a story of modern
capitalism, turn-of-the century labor organizing and enviornmental
destruction that still scars the land today. Using archival documents,
images of present-day Butte, miners songs, the music of indie band
Low, and Littles speeches, Wilkerson expertly interweaves his material
to fashion his own hybrid vision an experimental documentary that
connects past to present and is both a lament and a call for action.
Lucy Parsons Meets William Morris
DIRECTOR: Helena Stevens. Lucy Parsons was one of the first
emancipated women in the history of the American progressive movement,
along with Voltairine de Cleyre and Emma Goldman. She was also one
of the first Afro-American anarchists. One year after the Chicago
Martyrs were wrongly hung in 1878, Parsons was invited to visit
William Morris in London to deliver a series of lectures on the
Haymarket affair and other anarchist topics. Morris was, at the
time, a utopian socialist who frequented the same socialist club
in Hammersmith visited by George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Louise
Michel and Peter Kropotkin. Recreating the events, the acting seems
a little contrived at times, but the set design is based on the
actual William Morris apartment and the research is scrupulous.
A gem that must not to be missed! -Pietro Ferrua. (20
also shown with
DIRECTORS: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton. In his most famous short
film, Keaton is accidentally fingered as a terrorist after an anarchist
bomber (Cline) throws a bomb at the police departments
annual parade. Soon the whole police deparment is after Keaton in
what is one of the classic chase sequences in the movies. (18 mins.)
Cosponsored by Four Wall Cinema.
MAY 3 SAT 4 & 7:30 P.M.
Emma Goldman: The Anarchist
DIRECTOR: Coleman Romalis. Canadian sociologist and filmmaker Coleman
Romalis fondly portrays the feisty Jewish woman whose disdain for
authoritarianism was best expressed by the attributed phrase If
I can t dance, its not my revolution. Exploring
her political career as well as her remarkably liberated private
life, including her often stormy relationships with younger men,
the film provides a spirited portrait of one of the 20th centurys
most colorful and inspirational activists. J. Edgar Hoover pronounced
Emma Goldman the most dangerous anarchist in this country,
after deporting her to Russia in 1919. (42 mins.)
Following the films 4pm screening, series curator Pietro Ferrua
will lead a panel discussion with guests including Richard Porton,
author of Film and the Anarchist Imagination; Alon Rabb,
Portland Alliance; and Morgan Miller, Portland IWW.
MAY 3 SAT 8:30 P.M.
DIRECTOR: Juan Gamero. Made for Spanish television, LIVING UTOPIA
consists of 30 interviews with survivors of the 1936-1939 Spanish
Revolution, plus the recorded voices of former dictator Miguel Primo
de Rivera, of his son José Antonio Primo de Rivera, founder
of the Falange (the equivalent of the Fascist Party of Italy and
the Nazi Party of Germany) and that of known anarchist militant,
Juan García Oliver, who became the Minister of Justice of
the Republic.Their memories are interspersed with songs by El Cabrero,
photographs, film clips and images of key documents from the era.
MAY 4 SUN 7 P.M.
DIRECTORS: Lance Bird, Deborah Shaffer. A flow of familiar union
tunes sung by popular folk performers Utah Phillips, Mike Seeger,
and others sets the pace for this extraordinary documentary about
the International Workers of the World. First to organize the Northwest
lumberjacks and the Eastern waterfront, The Wobblies were feared
by the politicans, but cheered by train men. Bird and Shaffer combine
rare footage of America laboring in the 1930s with art, political
cartoons, early anti-union animation and interviews with old-timers
to recreate the Wobbly dream-and its demise. (89 mins.)
MAY 8 THU 7:30 P.M.
The New Babylon
DIRECTOR: Grigorii Kosintsev, Leonid Trauberg. In 1929 the Soviet
antiformalist backlash swept through Leningrads art world.
Caught in the politics and bureaucracy was the celebrated antiwar
history of the Paris commune. The story is set in the 1871 Paris
and centers around a posh department store modeled after that found
in Emile Zolas novel Ladies Paradise,which in turn satirized
the circus of consumer fetishism represented by the Paris emporium
Le Bon Marché. (85 mins.)
MAY 9 FRI 7 P.M.
DIRECTOR: Jose Luis Cuerda Cuerdas moving film is the tender
saga of a young boys coming of age on the eve of the Spanish
Civil War. It is the winter of 1936. Moncho, about to begin school
in a small Galician village and struck with fear by the imposing
reputation of his new teacher, runs away. Don Gregorio seeks him
out, brings him back and soon forms a bond with his young student.
A kind, gentle man in love with life, Don Gregorio introduces his
students to the mysteries of nature by spending the spring class
days in the glorious countryside. But one day in early summer, the
world of butterflies, friendship and ideals are crushed forever
by the reality of war. Betrayal, both national and personal willsoon
conume everyone. One of the rare films whose anarchist protagonist
is portrayed as a completely positive character, the story reflects
the moral, political and psychological siutation in Spain after
the fall of the Republic, and an aftermath of revenge and repression
that lasted for another four decades. Spanish Goya Award for Best
Screenplay. (95 mins.)
DIRECTOR: Marcela Fernandez Violante Cananea recalls the first of
a series of strikes against the regime of Mexican President Porfirio
Diaz in 1906, which culminated in the Mexican Revolution in 1910.
Organized by the Mexican Liberal Party, founded by anarchists in190
in conjunction with the Western Federation of Miners, the story
charts the heroic efforts to throw off the yoke of economic and
political oppression by the landowner who ruled the country. (90
MAY 10 SAT 7:30 P.M.
1919, Cronica Del Alba
DIRECTOR: Antonio Jose Betancor. Adapted from Ramon J. Senders autobiographical
novel, Cronica Del Alba provides moving testimony to the price of
idealism and self-sacrifice as it recounts the coming of age of
a young Spanish anarchist. In 1939, José Garcés is
in French prison camp after the defeat of Spains Republicans.
To entertain and inspire his fellow prisoners, and keep his own
hope alive, he tells the story of becoming a man in 1919, the year
he realized that learning to live is the same as learning to die.
After his father loses a fortune in German war bonds, he leaves
his son on his own in the small town of Zaragoza to finish high
school. While apprenticing in a pharmacy, José courts his
beloved Valentina via letters, experiences his first sexual awakening
with Isabel, who shares his ideas of free love, and falls under
the influence of El Checa, an anarchist and gentle teacher who introduces
him to the realities of class oppression. Deftly weaving an adventurous
personal story with Spanish social and political history, Betancor
provides an eloquent story of a transition from adolescence to adulthood
marked by the conflict between bourgeois background and revolutionary
ideals. (98 mins.)
MAY 11 SUN 7 P.M.
DIRECTOR: Enzo Monteleone. Monteleones comedy-drama is based
upon the true story of Horst Fantazzini, Italys gentleman
bandit, who robbed banks with a toy gun and saw his mostly
nonviolent crimes as a way of emulating his fathers anarchist
exploits during the fascist era. Focusing primarily on a hostage
standoff that develops during one of the outlaws attempts
to break out of jail in 1973 (with a real gun), the movie recalls
DOG DAY AFTERNOON, but with touches of gentle humanity. Stefano
Accorsi plays the would-be escapee-who quotes Brecht when he tells
his hostages that its more of a crime to found a bank
than rob one. (91 mins.)
MAY 14 WED 7:30 P.M.
Trinity Sees Red
DIRECTOR: Mario Camus. Camus European western, also known as Rage
of the Wind, is not your average cowboy film. Terence Hill stars
as Marcos,a hired assassin who travels to Valencia in southern Spain
with his brother on assignment from Don Antonio (Fernando Rey),
a wealthy landowner. His mission is to assassinate a troublesome
anarchist who is organizing the peasants to rebel against their
repressive living conditions. Complications and enlightenment ensue,
not the least of which is falling in love and solidarity with the
beautiful Soledad (Maria Grazia Buccella), and Marcos soon turns
against his patron to take up sides with the workers. Camus explores
the efforts of the workers to develop collective organization and
barganing at the end of the 19th century and the awakening realization
among some landowners that blind greed and feudal oppression were
not in anyones best interest. (105 mins.)
MAY 15 THU 7:30 P.M.
DIRECTOR: John Sayles. In 1920, the small sooty town of Matewan,
West Virginia was the scene of a bloody shoot-out between company
union-busters and coal miners trying to organize for better working
conditions. Sayles powerful, textured film recreates the town,
the time and the events that became known as the Matewan massacre,
an incident that set off a powder keg of conflict in mining towns
throughout the eastern U.S. A story of hard work, poverty, scab-labor,
racial tension and tragic violence in the struggle for justice,
Matewan features a talented ensemble cast, led by James Earl Jones.
MAY 17 SAT 7:30 P.M.
DIRECTOR: Vicente Aranda. July 19, 1936: the revolution has just
started in a town near Barcelona. Maria, a young innocent nun escaping
from her convent, which is being ransacked by revolutionaries, finds
refuge in a brothel, where she runs into a group of Libertarias
intent on freeing the prostitutes. Befriended by the group, she
joins up with its leader, Pilar, a spiritualist named Floren and
a prostitute called Concha, on their way to the front. Within the
brutal realities of war, Maria experiences love with a reformed
priest and companionship through those she is fighting with, and
soon she begins to doubt almost everything she once held to be true.
Arandas (TIME OF SILENCE, LOVERS) film is an epic, emotional
story of six womens fight for freedom, their struggle for
justice and their passionate cry for a better world. (125 mins.)
MAY 18 SUN 2 P.M.
La Commune (Paris 1871)
DIRECTOR: Peter Watkins. Any new work by Peter Watkins is
automatically an event, but nothing can compare with his vast, audacious,
and exhilarating film about the revolutionary euphoria and civil
war that engulfed Paris after the monarchy of Napoleon III collapsed.
In 1871, in the wake of the Franco-Prussian War, common Parisians
rose up against the National Assembly and forced it to flee to Versailles.
The Paris Commune established itself as a populist government, its
members devoted to various ideologies and leaders, but all committed
to the insurgent regime. Before their proposals for social reform
could be effected, the communards were attacked by troops sent by
the exiled assembly to suppress their revolt. The bloody struggle
that lasted for more than a month, and the massacre that ended the
utopian experiment, left a suppurating wound on the body politic
of France that still has not healed. (The revolts of May 68
looked back to the Commune as an inspiration.) Shot in beautifully
spare black and white, and acted by a cast of fiercely committed
non-professionals LA COMMUNE is at once celebration and lament,
history lesson and media critique. (345 mins.)
Cosponsored by Four Wall Cinema