Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Socialist Film Club

Having a regular socialist film night has proven very useful to the left in Swindon, not only as a sociable way of keeping comrades in touch and generating some discussion, but it has also allowed us to organise joint events with other organisations, such as the Climate Change Action Network, Stop the War Coalition or even animal welfare activists, where out interests coincide.

We are just planning our programme for the next six months, and these are the films we have chosen.

it is often difficult thinking of films to show, especially as some very good films are only avialable in Region 1 format (USA) and the pub we show them in doesn't have a licence to show region 1 films. if you have any suggestions for future movies we would be very pleased, especially short documentaries by activists.

11th June - Commissar
Made in 1967 but banned in Russia for the next two decades for depicting anti-semitism, Askoldov's only film as a director is a beautiful, poignant meditation on war, religion, childhood and human nature. In it, pregnant Red Army commissar Klavdia Vavilova stays with an impoverished Jewish family during the 1917-22 civil war.

9th July - Ghosts
Famed documentary filmmaker Nick Broomfield's second feature film is a dramatisation of the events in which 21 Chinese illegal immigrants were drowned whilst fishing for cockles off the South East coast in February 2004. The title refers to the term the Chinese use to describe white westerners, but it equally applies to the legions of poorly paid, non-British workers who provide for British restaurants and supermarkets.

13th August - Battle of Algiers
Powerful, dispassionate account of the Algerian war of Independence which generated huge political and aesthetic ripples. With its gripping documentary-style realism providing a very believable immediacy, it’s a compelling indictment of colonialism. Aided by Morricone's score it's a film that grabs you by the scruff of the neck and doesn't let go. Could be 1957, could be 2003, 2004... 2007

10th September - North Country
A fictionalized account of the first major successful sexual harassment case in the United States -- Jenson vs. Eveleth Mines, where a woman who endured a range of abuse while working as a miner filed and won the landmark 1984 lawsuit.

8th October - Venezuela - Journey with the Revolution
A journey into the heart of the Venezuelan revolution. Meet the midwives, nurses, doctors, housewives, teachers, gay and disability activists, who are transforming Venezuela. Visit health clinics, soup kitchens, land committees,education and micro-credit programmes… The excitement of the revolution is contagious. If you want to find out what a revolution is, this is the film for you.

12th November - Iluminados por el fuego
A wonderful Argentinian film, directed by Tristán Bauer and loosely based on the real experiences of some young Argentinian soldiers that fought in the 1982 Falklands war. A deeply moving and poignant story


Louisefeminista said...

North Country could have been so good but they are gave it the Hollywood treatment. Still worth showing as it was a landmark case esp. as it was working class women who led the challenge.

Also, Battle of Algiers.... fantastic.

What some cinemas do is to show the film Pepe le Moko before or after as stylistically they are so similar and Pontecorvo admitted to watching and being influenced by the structure of Pepe le Moko before he made his landmark film.

AN said...

I agree about the slick Hollywoodness of north Country meaning it is not so good as ART.

But on the other hand a mainstream film was made about the issues of sexism for working class women, and it reached a mass audience.

Whereas an artistically better film would have played a Art houses. I am not knocking arty films, but i don't think it is a bad thing if a mainstream film takes on the issues as well.

Darren said...

Agree with lousie; North Country is an awful film. I was really surprised how bad it was.

Half Nelson is a wonderful film if you haven't already seen it. It's about a school teacher who teaches history in a school in the Gowanus district in Brooklyn. He juggles a heroin habit with trying to teach dialectics to his pupils!

It's not 'political' with a capital p, in the same way that the Battle of Algiers might be, but you can tell
from the subtext of the film that part of his inner-demons that contribute to his condition stem from being someone on has been on the left and has been disillusioned and disappointed by how events have panned out.

It also involves a includes a great central performance by Ryan Gosling, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role in the film.

It's also the only film I've ever seen that has ever given a plug for the website Dialectics for Kids in its titles at the end.

Louisefeminista said...

yeah, I think it is good that mainstream films do take on these issues. I remember , for example,watching the film The Accused and thinking it was good when it came out way back in 1989 ,it reached an audience and it highlighted rape.

I think it is good when mainstream films take on these issues but I think they have to be conscious about trying not to give it the "Hollywood treatment".. It is possible to do it.

Darren: Haven't seen Half Nelson but it has had very good reviews from what I have read.

Darren said...

Sorry for the garbled nature of my last comment. I was using Andy's blackberry at the time. ;-)

Jools said...

Andy, how about Shane Meadows new film 'This is England' about a gang of skinheads in the north of England, set against the backdrop of the Falklands war. Again, perhaps not capital 'P' political but having watched it at the weekend it certainly has an anti-racist undercurrent. Good soundtrack as well Darren!

AN said...

It is a great film, I am planing to write a review of it.

As it is still actually in the mainstream cinema is might be worth waiting a few months.

Good soundtrack, but is that what skins were really listening to in 1982, or were they listening to the Cockney Rejects and Screwdriver?