RAYMUNDO Dir. Ernesto Ardito, Virna Molina (Argentina, 2003)
I am an Argentinean filmmaker; I have made films since 1963, all of them about the political and social situation in Latin America. I try to demonstrate that there is only one way to bring profound structural changes to our continent: the socialist revolution.
31st May 2015 | 7.30pm | @ Common House | Free
Film, presentation & discussion:
INTERVIEW WITH RAYMUNDO GLEYZER, 1973 ‘Many of them made films that we can call, in general Latin-American Cinema. From this experience, individually or in a group, nothing positive came out, and I include myself. This is because the fundamental problem, when we make a film, is the final spectator of the product. Everybody has thought about this problem; how to reach the base, the ordinary people, not only in theory, but also in the practice; to make films for the people, and the specific method to do it. We could talk about theory forever, but the problem is how to reach a real person, the working class, the person getting sick in the factories, they deserve at least our support. From our own limits as middle class intellectuals, we have to contribute to their knowledge and send a clear message. We realized that we had to make contact with the base, with the people struggling every day in the streets. We did not have that contact. In 1969, we saw the working class, on its own, subverting everyone; the military, the bureaucracy, the unions, and maybe we, if we did not changed our paternalistic attitude. Either we do not understand the working class, or we speak for its name without anybody asking us. It is a strategic mistake to separate ourselves from the people’s struggle. It is worst yet for the intellectual that wants to contribute to the revolution. I believe this is why the incorporation of a political organization is crucial, an organization with a concrete plan to achieve power. That is the revolutionary filmmaker’s mission; if not, it is just talking. If not, we are just running our mouth. I don’t know if I am clear. At Cine de la Base, we spent several months trying to solve technical problems, we did not take care of anything else: just where to develop, where to edit, who was going to do this or that. Once these technical problems solved, we realized that our work as Cine de la Base would not be completed until we joined a specific political group, with a real plan to achieve power in Argentina. If not, we are not political filmmakers; we are dilettantes, separated from the people’s national project. What do we do at Cine de la Base, besides making and distributing the film The Traitors? We formed three divisions. The first two produce films and the third one is dedicated to the graphic materials. When one group produces, the other distributes, and vice versa. We think that to have our own theatres is very important, so, we are building small theaters, because the film is only finished with the spectator. If the film is clear and revolutionary in its ideology, we have to reach the people; we have to risk bringing them our work, just as we risked our lives filming it underground. The cinema is an instrument of the bourgeoisie; it was created to serve this purpose. To watch a movie, we need a theater, a projector, etc. This condition makes it impossible to show a film in a factory, for the working class. We have not developed the means to use film as a working class tool. This is why we construct theaters, with any material available in the neighborhoods: wood, metal, etc. We already have a cinema for 200 people, and the name is “Cine de la Base”. We plan to build 50 more, and this is crucial to have our own distribution channel.’
26 April 2015 | 7.30pm | Common House | Free
women and miners’ strikes shorts
Down all tools – labour struggle socializes the quasi-natural capitalist extraction of ore from the earth and care from women.
But for that rupture to occur, there has to be a strike inside the strike, for a solidarity beyond support.
read more at: http://lux.org.uk/blog/i-burn-way-money-burns-part-1
DEATH LAID AN EGG [La morte ha fatto l’uovo]
The factory is the real villain of the film – the modern technology implemented by the matriarchal owner Anna has eliminated the need for human workers. The process has become entirely automated and the unemployed workers seethe with undisguised hate and resentment. The factory is coveted by Gabrielle and Mondaini and their thirst for the wealth it is about to generate motivates murder and duplicity. It is also the site for a series of monstrous and grotesque experiments, the culmination of which is the birth of a mutated headless chicken. Its destruction the only sensible thing that the confused and emasculated Marco does. His capitalist overlords however are less than happy with this, their eyes shine with greed at the prospect of a poultry product which will have no waste attached to it. If this isn’t enough the factory even claims the life of a harmless pet dog! The critique of capitalism and aggressive mechanised production techniques emerges as the most salient theme of the film. It feeds into a general sensibility of inhumanity which is reflected in the cynical and selfish behaviour of the main characters.
In the lead-up to Christmas 1974, an army of about seventy Santa Clauses, male and female, paraded through the city of Copenhagen, singing carols, handing out sweets and hot chocolate, and asking everyone what they wanted for Christmas.
After spending a few days cementing the good image of good old Santa Claus, their generosity became increasingly radical. Among other things, the Santas climbed a barbed wire fence surrounding the recently shuttered General Motors assembly plant with the purpose of giving jobs back to “their rightful owners.”
The week-long performance reached its crescendo inside one of Copenhagen’s biggest department stores when the Santas started handing out presents to customers directly off the shelves. Before too long, security guards and shop assistants interrupted the magic, desperately tearing the presents out of people’s hands. The police soon showed up and escorted the Santa Clauses out onto the street, where they were roughed up and thrown into paddy wagons in spite of the fact that it wasn’t clear that a criminal act had been committed, except perhaps on the part of customers who took home the presents without paying.
The performance exposed the radical implications of the myth of Santa Claus’ boundless generosity, demonstrating that true generosity is impossible within the narrow terms of capitalist society. With widely distributed photos of Santa Claus getting beaten for being too generous, the action was a hit.
The people behind Santa’s beards were the Danish theater collective Solvognen (“The Sun Chariot,” an allusion to Norse mythology). During the 1970s, the collective performed many large-scale actions intended to make bourgeois Danish society “act itself out as theater.”
And this beautiful zine:
Harun Farocki, whose films we have shown often at our screenings over the years, passed away on Wednesday 30 July aged 70. It’s with great sadness that we note the deaths of two great documentary filmmakers within the last two years. With Chris Marker and Harun Farocki gone we will lack more than ever formally experimental critiques of work and capitalism.
As a small tribute (which we will develop at some point in the near future as a screening) here’s two short films, one of Farocki’s earliest, Inextinguishable Fire (1969) and a re-make by Jill Godmilow, What Farocki Taught (1998). Followed by a short statement by Kodwo Eshun from Farocki’s film production website: http://farocki-film.de/
We regret to announce the passing of Harun Farocki on 30 July 2014. He was 70 years of age.
From 1967 onwards, Harun Farocki directed more than 120 films and installations that analysed the powers of the image with an originality, a prescience and a gravitas that renewed itself, year after year, project after project. In his teaching and his essays, in journals and books and exhibitions conceived and produced with Antje Ehmann, Farocki was a powerful critic, editor, theorist and curator in his own right.
Generations of artists, theorists and critics have taken Farockis films such as Inextinguishable Fire (1969) and Images of the World and the Inscription of War (1988) and installations such as Deep Play (2007) as reference points. His impact and influence on culture, within and beyond Germany, is undisputed. He was, and remains, a commanding figure of contemporary culture.
Despite his numerous commitments, Farocki was always generous with his time, his ideas and his attention. Unlike many artists from the 1960s, Farocki was neither nostalgic nor bitter. He was forward-looking, youthful, humorous, restless, unpretentious, enquiring, skeptical, stylish and handsome. He loved football, a drink of beer and smoking his favourite cigarettes, with his friends from his travels with his life partner Antje Ehmann.
Harun Farocki was and is, irreplaceable. We are proud to have counted ourselves among his many, many friends.
We admired him and we loved him and we learnt from him, always.
To say that we will miss him is an understatement that he would have appreciated.
Kodwo Eshun 31. 7. 2014
Great bibliography at blog maintained by film scholar Catherine Grant:
Insightful text on Farocki’s films by Thomas Elsessaer:
Thursday 17th July 1 – 4pm
MARCH FOR BETTER PAY
FOR CINEMA WORKERS!
This allegedly progressive art-house cinema chain is refusing to pay their staff a living wage!
“It is hypocritical to sell fair trade coffee and then not pay a fair wage. Come on Picturehouse, don’t ask the people who work for you to subsidise your business!” Ken Loach
BECTU union members at The Ritzy cinema in London (owned by Picturehouse) have been campaigning for a Living Wage since the beginning of the year. They have:
- been taking strike action since April backed by the local community
- had celebrities like Eric Cantona, James Nesbitt, Ken Loach, Clio Barnard, Mark Rylance, Irvine Welsh, Elizabeth Berrington and Will Self offering support
- had messages of solidarity from workers in other cinema chains, theatres and opera houses
- had union members in the US, Canada, Nigeria, Japan and across Europe send messages of support……