Aug 082013
 

CinemaCoversmallANARCHIST CINEMA DURING THE SPANISH REVOLUTION AND CIVIL WAR by Emeterio Diez* — with appendices on Armand Guerra, Aranda’s ‘Libertarias (a review by Andrew H. Lee), and a general database on anarchist films by Santiago Juan-Navarro. These articles first appeared in Arena 1 (2009), Editor Richard Porton — LOOK INSIDE!

(Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBooks titles) NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE — £2.02/€2.33/$3.09
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*Emeterio Diez is a Spanish historian specialising in Spanish cinema whose published work has appeared in Archivos de la Filmoteca, Secuencias, Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos, Cuadernos de la Academia and Historia 16.

‘Pedagogical imperatives also come to the fore within Emeterio Diez’s discussion of the role of film in the Spanish Revolution and Civil War. The films of the CNT-FAI, in addition to having performed the traditional functions of agitation and propaganda traditionally embraced by a political faction during wartime, are now important documents that illuminate the anarchist experiments in self-management during the early days of revolutionary upheaval. Diez’s discussion of the anarchist “socialisation” of the Spanish film industry — particularly attempts to assert workers’ control over the realms of production and exhibition — is the most complete treatment of the subject I am aware of. While Diez ultimately pinpoints major contradictions that stymied the socialisation process (which included internecine conflicts among the anarchists themselves and the cinemas’ dependence upon Hollywood film which clashed blatantly with the CNT-FAI’s revolutionary ethos), his article nevertheless chronicles a seminal utopian moment in the history of the anarchist movement.’

Richard Porton (editor), author of Film and the Anarchist Imagination, teaches cinema studies at New York University, writes on film for a variety of publications, and is on the editorial board of Cineaste.

See also ‘The Spanish Civil War on Film‘ (1-8) introduced by Julián Casanova (with English subtitles)

Feb 212012
 

La Patagonia Rebelde (Rebel Patagonia) by Osvaldo Bayer (click to read)

Patagonia rebelde (or Patagonia trágica) (written by Osvaldo Bayer) was a violent suppression of a rural worker’s strike in the Argentine province of Santa Cruz in Patagonia between 1921 and 1922. The uprising was put down by Colonel Héctor Benigno Varela’s 10th Cavalry Regiment of the Argentine Army under the orders of Hipólito Yrigoyen. Approximately 1,500 rural workers were shot and killed by the Army in the course of the operations, many of them executed by firing squads at Estancia San José. Most of those executed were Chilean and Spaniard workers who had sought refuge in Patagonia after their strike in southern Chile in 1920 was brutally suppressed by the Chilean authorities.

Patagonia rebelde 1 ; Patagonia rebelde 2 ; Patagonia rebelde 3 ; Patagonia rebelde 4 ; Patagonia rebelde 5 ; Patagonia rebelde 6 ; Patagonia rebelde 7 ; Patagonia rebelde 8; Patagonia rebelde 9 ; Patagonia rebelde 10 ; Patagonia rebelde 11

Oct 082011
 

See ChristieBooks Films:
Lady Snowblood (Shurayuki-hime) is arrested by the police and sentenced to death for her crimes (in Lady Snowblood I). As she is sent to the gallows she is rescued by the mysterious Kikui Seishiro, head of the Secret Police who offers her a deal to assassinate Tokunaga Ransuit, an anarchist “enemy of the State”. The anarchist is in possession of a critical document which which Kikui is obsessed, deeming it highly dangerous to the stability of the government. If Kashima can obtain and deliver the document to Kikui, he will grant her immunity from her crimes.

Sep 222011
 


The film opens with Joe Hill’s arrival in New York as an emigrant in 1902, details his move to the west coast and his involvement with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), and ends with his trial and subsequent execution . . .

Sep 222011
 


Macario, a poor and hungry peasant, longs for just one good meal on the Day of the Dead. After his wife cooks a turkey for him, he meets three apparitions, the Devil, God, and Death. Each asks him to share his turkey, but he refuses all except Death. In return, Death gives him a bottle of water which will heal any illness. Soon, Macario is more wealthy than the village doctor, which draws the attention of the feared Inquisition.

Sep 142011
 

Crates (1970 – Alfredo Joskowicz) from Stuart Christie on Vimeo.

The story of a twentieth-century Mexican who, following the example of Crates of Thebes*, a disciple of Diogenes, renounces all his worldly goods and goes off with his partner to live in a cave — according to nature and without artificial rules and conventions— in search of freedom.

*Crates (Κράτης; c. 365-c. 285 BC) was a Cynic philosopher who gave away his money to live a life of poverty on the streets of Athens. His wife, Hipparchia of Maroneia, lived in the same austere manner. Respected by the people of Athens, he is remembered for being the teacher of Zeno of Citium the founder of Stoicism. Some fragments of Crates’ teachings survive, including his description of the ideal Cynic state. Cynics believed that the purpose of  life was to live virtuously in harmony with Nature. This meant rejecting all conventional desires for wealth, power, health and celebrity and by living a simple life free from all possessions. As reasoning creatures, people could gain happiness by rigorous training and by living in a way that was natural for humans. They believed that the world belonged equally to everyone, and that suffering was caused by false judgments of what was valuable and by the worthless customs and conventions that pervaded society.

Jul 072011
 

Britannia Hospital, by Lindsay Anderson, is a social satire, a bleak metaphor for British society in the early 1980s, an allegory of Thatcherism (and a prophetic vision of Cameronian Britain). Strikes, police violence, police corruption, riots, all present in daily life today, and all represented in this black comedy. In the hospital’s 500th anniversary year, Britannia Hospital administrator, Vincent Potter (played by Leonard Rossiter), is desperately trying to restore order prior to a visit by the Queen Mother, who is coming to open the Millar Centre for Advanced Surgical Science. Meanwhile, in an effort to produce a supreme being — which he calls Genesis — Professor Millar himself (played by Graham Crowden), is secretly conducting Frankenstein-like experiments on human cadavers. With the British government’s failure to provide funding for hospitals, the new Centre is being financed by the Japanese company, Banzai Chemicals, the owners of which are also present for the special day. Intermittent telephone services and a faltering electrical supply add to Potter’s frustrations, but they are only the tip of the iceberg. An undercover team of journalists (led by Malcolm McDowell, the rebel public schoolboy from If . . . ) are about to stop at nothing to uncover Millar’s clandestine project, and there is a growing number of protesters (including many of the staff) at the main gate demonstrating against the preferential treatment of the hospital’s private patients, including an Idi Amin-type African dictator (Val Pringle), who has installed most of his aides and servants in the hospital too (Anderson’s original inspiration for the film came from the staff of Charing Cross Hospital in the 1970s who refused to treat private patients). The kitchen staff go on strike when they learn that the food for the special guests has been ordered from top London food specialists Fortnum and Mason. Potter wins over their union representative by promising him an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List …

See also: LINDSAY ANDERSON – A Celebration (1994)CB FILMS

Jun 172011
 

A cult classic from the ‘sixties’ directed by Czech born filmmaker Karel Reisz. Morgan Delt, a gorilla-fixated artist with distinctly anarchist tendencies, is trying to regain the affections of his divorced wife Leonie (played by Vanessa Redgrave in her film debut) by variously kidnapping her, attempting to blow up her future mother-in-law and attacking her fiance. Not quite ‘One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest’, but Morgan’s depiction of madness, dark humour about the gradual destruction of a free spirit by an uncaring bourgeois society — and the actors’ vintage performances, particularly Irene Handl — made it one of the funniest and most provocative of British 60s comedies. The script reflects some of Marxist playwright David Mercer‘s concerns of the time — especially class politics, Trotskyism and R D Laing‘s perception of the mad as truly sane — while Karel Reisz’s direction balances Morgan’s failing real-world life with a fantasy life of gorillas. Released in April 1966 – the month Time magazine’s famous ‘Swinging London‘ issue was published – Morgan is both of its time and points forward to the darker popular culture that would ensue later that year and into 1968, the year of international youth revolution. Indeed, some argue its popularity among the young may well have contributed culturally to this radicalisation, certainly within Britain. The film’s depiction of madness is deliberately ambivalent. The inner logic of Morgan’s statements and his sure self-knowledge, as well as his rejection of the consumer society’s superficial trappings, mark him as the only sane character. His madness, therefore, is like the state celebrated by RD Laing: insanity not as a state worthy of condign treatment but as a rebellion, the only possible act of sanity in a mad, mad world. The symbol of the imprisoning restraint is echoed by Laing’s famous statement, in his book, Sanity, Madness and the Family: “Society places every child in a straitjacket”. Mercer was heavily influenced by Laing’s theories, and employed the psychologist as a consultant on his 1967 drama Two Minds, which related a young woman’s schizophrenia to her oppressive family background. Mercer was not alone in espousing Laing’s theories, which, as the anarchist writer Jeff Nuttall charted in his 1968 book Bomb Culture, fed directly into the radical aesthetics of the mid-60s underground. In some ways, they were the perfect antidote to the collapse of the old communist left. They would gain an even greater popularity after 1968. See short clip (below) or full FILM

http://youtu.be/iNEWimL7-vw