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
2 FRI 7:30 P.M.
An Injury to One
DIRECTOR: Travis Wilkerson. Wilkerson’s 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. (53 mins.)
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 department’s
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.
3 SAT 4 & 7:30 P.M.
Emma Goldman: The Anarchist Guest
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, it’s 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 century’s 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.
Following the film’s 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.
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. (96 mins.)
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.)
8 THU 7:30 P.M.
The New Babylon
DIRECTOR: Grigorii Kosintsev, Leonid Trauberg. In 1929 the Soviet antiformalist
backlash swept through Leningrad’s 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 Zola’s novel Ladies Paradise,which
in turn satirized the circus of consumer fetishism represented by the
Paris emporium Le Bon Marché. (85 mins.)
9 FRI 7 P.M.
DIRECTOR: Jose Luis Cuerda Cuerda’s moving film is the tender
saga of a young boy’s 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.
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 mins.)
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 Spain’s 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.)
11 SUN 7 P.M.
DIRECTOR: Enzo Monteleone. Monteleone’s comedy-drama is based
upon the true story of Horst Fantazzini, Italy’s “gentleman
bandit,” who robbed banks with a toy gun and saw his mostly nonviolent
crimes as a way of emulating his father’s anarchist exploits during
the fascist era. Focusing primarily on a hostage standoff that develops
during one of the outlaw’s 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 it’s “more of a crime
to found a bank than rob one.” (91 mins.)
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 anyone’s best interest. (105 mins.)
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. (132 mins.)
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. Aranda’s (TIME OF SILENCE,
LOVERS) film is an epic, emotional story of six women’s fight
for freedom, their struggle for justice and their passionate cry for
a better world. (125 mins.)
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