May 222011
 

The Death of a Bureaucrat (1966) is a difficult-to-find film made by one of Cuba’s most famous Directors, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea. It tells the story of a young man’s attempts to confront bureaucracy and red tape. When a well loved sculptor is accidentally killed by the machine he created to mass-produce busts of nineteenth-century revolutionary hero José Martí, his family decides he should be buried gripping his union work permit (Carnet card) as a symbol of his dedication to Castro’s cause. Unfortunately, when his wife goes to receive her pension, the paperwork cannot be completed without her dead husband’s work permit. Distraught, she enlists her nephew to exhume the body and so begins a maddening paper trail that ends in a hilarious climax exposing the insanity of bureaucracy. A mixture of slapstick comedy and paranoid nightmare. See FILMS

May 182011
 

A 1970s ‘anarchist’ group calling itself “Nada” abducts US ambassador Richard Poindexter in a brothel in Paris and holds him hostage in a farm in the countryside. The French Interior Minister gives Goemond, the police chief assigned to the case, a blank cheque to eliminate the anarchists. In order to protect the interests of the State in an increasingly messy and embarrassing situation, Goemond is quickly made the scapegoat. Meanwhile the group members quarrel among themselves as to the ambassador’s fate, while the police purge suspects in an attempt to crush the Nada faction. With violence escalating on both sides, the State and the terrorists are obliged to use one another’s methods in an increasingly desperate and relentless conflict. To watch the full feature-length film go to the FILMS tab

Apr 202011
 

El cine libertario: cuando las películas hacen historia: (Trailer for full length documentary available after 16 April 2011).  Al estallar la guerra civil española en julio de 1936, el sindicato anarquista CNT socializó la industria del cine en España. En Madrid y Barcelona los trabajadores del cine asumieron a través del sindicato los bienes de producción y se produjeron numerosas películas. Esto dio lugar a un período único que no se ha vuelto a producir en ninguna otra cinematografía mundial. Pese a que el país estaba sumido en una cruenta guerra, entre 1936 y 1938 se rodaron y estrenaron películas de muy variada temática: dramas sociales, comedias musicales, filmes de denuncia, documentales bélicos…. componen un variado mosaico que da lugar a uno de los momentos más insólitos y originales de la cinematografía española. A través de las voces de distintos expertos, así como del testimonio en primera persona del director de fotografía y restaurador español Juan Mariné, que inició su carrera en el cine trabajando en estas películas, el documental recorre cada una de las producciones que constituyen un legado excepcional de la cinematografía española. Fue un periodo muy efímero durante el cual los guionistas, los directores, los técnicos y los actores españoles demostraron una de las máximas del mundo del espectáculo: pese a los bombardeos, el hambre y el drama de la guerra, el espectáculo debía continuar, y continuó.

From the earliest days of the revolution, in July 1936, the film industry in Spain was collectivised with its members producing, directing, distributing and screening over 200 newsreels, documentaries and eight full-length feature films, all with themes relating to the social revolutionary events that took place between July 1936 and August 1937. The feature films, most of which are on the ChristieBooks Film site — as are many of the documentaries and newsreels — including: Barrios bajos (1937 — Pedro Puche: melodrama in Barcelona’s Barrio Chino) ; Nosotros somos asi (1936 – Valentin R. Gonzalez: musical comedy starring children) ; Aurora de esperanza (1936 - Antonio Sau: drama) ; Nuestro culpable (1936 — Fernando Mignoni: drama) ; Carne de fieras (1936 — Armand Guerra: drama)

Libertarian Cinema: when films made history (Delta Films —Verónica Vigil, José María Almela) explores the film productions of the anarcho-syndicalist SIE (CNT) and examines their exceptional legacy with Spanish film historians and cinematographers such as Juan Mariné Bruguera. See FILMS

Apr 022011
 

Ni Dios, ni patron, ni marido (see FILMS), una película que nos hablará de un personaje real, Virginia Bolten (1870-1960), redactora de la primera publicación feminista latinoamericana denominada “La voz de la mujer”, editada en la clandestinidad entre 1896 y 1897, donde se aportó por primera vez una perspectiva anarcofeminista en la defensa de los derechos elementales de la mujer y las trabajadoras. Llamada la Luise Michel rosarina, Virginia Bolten es uno de esas personajes adelantados a su época, silenciados por la historia oficial, que por suerte el tiempo no ha olvidado. Ni Dios, ni patrón, ni marido narra los hechos que culminaron en la creación de La voz de la mujer, el periódico anarcofeminista desde el cual un grupo de pioneras bregaba por el amor libre, la igualdad de derechos y el fin de toda dominación cuando aún no despuntaba el siglo XX. La pelicula cuenta los acontecimientos que protagonizaron un grupo de obreras textiles junto a la anarquista Virginia Bolten y la estrella del canto lírico nacional Lucía Boldoni, quienes se unieron en pos de un objetivo: la edición de un periódico hecho por mujeres para mujeres que acercara a miles de trabajadoras la lucha por la construcción de una identidad autónoma dentro y fuera del hogar. La Voz de la Mujer, el primer periódico anarcofeminista de Latinoamérica, se imprimió en forma clandestina cuando la policía y la escasez de recursos se lo permitieron; los 2000 ejemplares de cada uno de sus nueve números recorrieron fábricas y talleres brindando el espacio para difundir ideales de libertad e independencia, instalar el debate sobre el amor libre, el matrimonio, la revolución social, los abusos del poder y enseñar a las madres a educar a sus hijos en igualdad de derechos.

Jan 082011
 

Johnny Cool - messaggero di morte

Johnny Cool (1963), a rarely-seen noir gangster film (starring Henry Silva and Elizabeth Montgomery), is based on a thinly fictionalised account of the life of Sicilian bandit Salvatore Giuliano after his betrayal and presumed death in an ambush in Castelvetrano (Sicily) in 1950. Like Giuliano, ‘Johnny Cool’, starts off as an idealistic freedom fighter corrupted through the patronage of organised crime figure John Colini (modelled on deported US gangster ‘Lucky Luciano’). Colini recruits Johnny Cool as a ‘messenger of death’ and sends him to the USA to take revenge on the former Mafia colleagues who betrayed him and carved up his empire. As with the real-life story of Salvatore Giuliano, given the nature of power and men’s inherent weaknesses, few, if any, have sufficient strength of character not to set themselves above all morality and – with their techniques of violent control – abuse their authority. Inevitably, like Giuliano — especially when collaborating with the landed aristocracy, right-wing politicians, criminals, mafiosi and neo-fascists — whatever idealism they originally may  possess will be poisoned, their social and ethical conscience eroded and corrupted, and their perception of the real world manipulated out of all realistic shape. See also FILMSalvatore Giuliano

Jan 072011
 

Anarchism in Aragón

Documentary (in Spanish) made in 1986 about how agricultural workers (men and women) of the anarcho-syndicalist CNT began to implement one of the most profound social revolutions of the 20th century, a society in which everyone was equal and there was no exploitation.

Es un documental que narra cómo durante la Guerra Civil Española, los anarcosindicalistas llevaron a cabo una revolución social. El ideal de la autogestión fue puesto en práctica por muchos de estos militantes. En grandes zonas de la España republicana se comenzó a vivir en una sociedad en la cual todo el mundo era igual y nadie explotaba a nadie.

FILMS: See also Vivir la Utopia – Living Utopia (1997 – Juan Gamero – English subtitles) ; Spanish Civil War 2Revolution, Counter-revolution and Terror and SCW 5 Inside the Revolution (1982 – David Hart) ; CNT Libertarian Revolution of July 19 1936 ; Spanish Civil War on Film 3-4 Social Revolution (2007 – Casanova) ; Zona Roja 03Social Revolution

Dec 292010
 

Giuseppe Pinelli (1928 - 15 December 1969)

Pinelli and the Piazza Fontana – Italy’s Cold War

It all began in the spring of 1969, with the “anarchist” bombs of 25 April, but it really took off on 12 December with bombs exploding in a bank in Milan’s Piazza Fontana killing 17 people, and injuring 88. According to the police and the official media these were “anarchist” bombs, as were those that later exploded on trains and in public squares in Bologna, in Brescia, on trains in tunnels, and other Italian cities. From day one the anarchists stated that these were not anarchist bombs, they were “state massacres”, part of a strategy of tension intended to prevent the Italian Communist Party from participating in government. A Rivista Anarchica, an investigative journal founded in early 1971 to expose the truth about the strategy of tension, published a number of articles over the years on the subject, as did its sister journal Libertaria, some of which  are republished here. With the Berlusconi government in serious trouble is it possible that a new ‘strategy of tension’ is under way?

State coup: interview with Guido Salvini; Assassination? No – active illness!; The funeral of Pinelli by Franco Fortini; The anarchist thrown from a window by Paolo Finzi; The window-inspector by Patrizio Biagi; Forty years after the mother of all massacres; A conversation with aunt Rachele and the lawyer Guido Calvi by Antonella Schroeder and A.B; On the walls – picture/graphic research by Roberto Gimm; The state v. Pietro Valpreda by A. B.; Those years are still with us by Giulio D’Errico, Martino Iniziato and Fabio Vercilo; My friendship with Pino by Lorenzo Pezzica; Two 22 March members by Giulio D’Errico, Martino Iniziato, Fabio Vercilli and Matteo Villa; That day with Valpreda by Giulio D’Errico; The Ponte della Ghisolfa/Crocenera group by Giulio D’Errico; Days of bombs and trials (from 1969 to 2005)

BOOK (ISSUU) Stefano delle Chiaie. Portrait of a “Black” terrorist

FILMS: Gladio 1 – The Ringmasters; Gladio 2 The Puppeteers; Gladio 3 – The Footsoldiers; L’Orchestre Noir; Nella Citta Perduta di Sarzana; Piazza Fontana – 12 December 1969; Il Filo della memoria Giuseppe Pinelli; S’era tutti sovversivi – a Franco Serantini; Storia – Strage di Stato – Three hypotheses on the death of Pinelli

Dec 282010
 

Ojo por Ojo (An Eye for an Eye) Pistolerismo in Barcelona 1919-1923

Spanish TV mini-series on the years of ‘pistolerismo‘ (employer/state death squads) in post WW1 Barcelona (during which over 200 unionists were murdered). The story of a young man, Enric Serra, who joins an anarchist action group to defend his class interests and his union (the anarcho-syndicalist CNT) in the face of a vicious, murderous anti-working class repression by the employers’ organisation (the patronal), their ‘yellow’ unions (the sindicatos libres),  Barcelona’s ruling class under Martinez Anido,  and the Spanish state of Alfonso XIII. A través de la situación de los trabajadores de una fábrica textil ‘Ojo por ojo’ recrea la lucha obrera de la época por la mejora de las condiciones laborales. Enric Serra es un joven obrero que trabaja en una fábrica textil. Su hermano lidera una huelga que hará perder mucho dinero a la familia Torrents. A la salida de la fábrica, Enric contempla con impotencia cómo su hermano es asesinado. Sabe que el responsable de la muerte es el Sr. Torrents y decide unirse a un grupo de acción anarquista para vengarse…

See FILMSOjo por Ojo 1, Ojo por Ojo 2, 1919, La verdad sobre el caso Savolta, El honor de las injurias …

See also Pistoleros! (The Chronicles of Farquhar McHarg)

Dec 222010
 

THE RULES OF THE GAME takes place on the eve of World War II at an aristocratic house party at an opulent chateau on a country estate just outside of Paris where the overlapping ‘affaires d’amour’ of all social classes are observed with a keen eye. Jean Renoir looks to the eighteenth-century world of commedia dell’arte and Mozartian opera,  seamlessly integrating farce with tragedy, using a classical form to offer his audience a profound and multifaceted parable on the disturbing realities that underlie the veneer of contemporary French society, and which are themselves symptomatic of the nascent decline of Old World Europe. The film was initially condemned for its satire on the French upper classes and was greeted with derision by a Parisian audience at its première. The upper class is depicted in this film as capricious and self-indulgent, with little regard for the consequences of their actions. It was banned by the  French government. FILMS

Dec 142010
 

Billy Budd is a young man impressed from a merchant ship in 1797 and made foretopman on the British Navy frigate Avenger during the French revolutionary wars with England. In a conversation with the Captain, Edward Fairfax Vere, the ship’s master-at-arms, Jon Claggart, accuses Budd of mutinous conspiracy. Skeptical of the accusations (given Budd’s easy-going and cheerful bearing), Captain Vere invites Claggart to make the accusations in Budd’s presence. Given the opportunity to rebut the accusations, Budd, who suffers from an inability to speak under duress, is unable to do so. Frustrated and angry, Budd strikes Claggart, killing him. Though believing Budd innocent of mutiny and free of any intent to kill Claggart, Vere quickly convenes a drumhead court to try Budd . .

A powerful and moving film about the battle of good versus evil

Billy Budd by Herman Melville (text)

FILMS