Category: Uncategorized

‘Raymundo’: Militant Cinema, the Mass Struggle and ‘the Screening’

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

The Common House
Unit 5E (press the buzzer)
5 Pundersons Gardens
Bethnal Green E2 9QG —
“Written, directed and produced by Ernesto Ardito and Virna Molina. This is a documentary film about the life and work of Raymundo Gleyzer, Argentine filmmaker, kidnapped and murdered by that country’s military dictatorship in 1976. Through Raymundo’s life, we follow the story of Latin American revolutionary cinema and the liberation struggles of the 60’s and 70’s. Raymundo was one of the major architects of the militant cinema, yet after his “ disappearance ”, he fell into oblivion. It is essential that the new generation rediscovers his life and works which are a source of inspiration today more than ever. This documentary will bring back what the CIA and the Latin American dictatorships couldn’t destroy: the memory, the ideals and the courage to tell the truth”. .

Film, presentation & discussion:

UnCine invite you to enjoy and unpick with us militant workers cinema from 1970’s Argentinian dictatorship. After the film, there will be an autodidactic presentation (with clips from Argentinian struggle and the later representation of that struggle) on some of the themes we find interesting in relation to the film ‘Raymundo’:
What does it mean to invest in cinema as a medium of consciousness raising? What does it mean to be part of the guerrilla struggle and make films? What’s the deal with the People’s Revolutionary Army and the 1969 uprising Cordabazo? What does it mean to die for cinema, for the revolution? Why has the participatory and militant intention of Third Cinema been mostly overlooked? How to review Full Unemployment Cinema and other political film projects through the lens of Raymundo, his/their films, the notions of militant cinema and workers’ film screenings? Why didn’t we just show his epic workers struggle feature film ‘The Traitors’ instead?
erp figures

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.’

glayzer flyer
Raymundo2bis Raymundo4bis Juanita Sapire, Raymundo’s companera, remembers their life and work at the unveiling of a pavement plaque on the street outside the Film Industry Union building in Buenos Aires where Raymundo was kidnapped and disappeared on 27th May 1976.
This screening happens almost 39 years later to that day.

Women and Miners Strikes Shorts- Sunday April 26 2015

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:



Women Against Pit Closures: memories from the miners’ strike, 30 years on

The Common House
Unit 5E (press the buzzer)
5 Pundersons Gardens
Bethnal Green E2 9QG

Xmas Dread Screening this SUNDAY 21 DEC Common House: Death Laid an Egg + Santa Claus Army

TRIBUTE TO GIULIO QUESTI (18 March 1924 – 3 December 2014)

7 for 7.30 pm
Common House
Unit 5E
Pundersons Gardens
Bethnal Green

DEATH LAID AN EGG [La morte ha fatto l’uovo]
Giulio Questi – Italy, 1968
This is a deliriously strange thriller about a scientist (Jean-Louis Trintignant) who is breeding headless, boneless chickens at a high-tech farm. He’s having an affair with Ewa Aulin, who is plotting with him to kill his wife (Gina Lollobrigida)…and she’s plotting with Aulin to kill him…and he and Lollobrigida are plotting…oh, it’s too confusing, but extremely memorable. 
The bizarre, only semi-linear editing and trippy cinematographic techniques are artifacts of the psychedelic era and combine with the twisted story to make any Euro-cultist’s dreams come true. A film that defies easy categorization, it veers uneasily between giallo, drug film, and science-fiction, with heavy doses of romance and Antonioni-like weirdness. 
“It was the time of the economic boom. The process of industrialization was a growing tide that swept everything away. It was a hymn to the future, a frenetic packaging of products without distinction between animate and inanimate. Products that were still alive were screaming in terror and anguish. Large factory farms were a symbol of this. Every man was a chicken, every hen a woman, every chick a child. Wealth was accumulated on their skin. And, above all, “the egg” triumphed; white, smooth, perfect, with a life locked inside it. Sexual perversion became the only possible way out.”
G. Questi
There’s an informative post on the film here:

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.

————————————————————————>    PLUS

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.”

more here:


And this beautiful zine:

Harun Farocki – RIP – An Inextinguishable Fire

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:




For HF

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:

Cinema Workers Rally, 17 July / Benefit Party THIS Saturday the 12th



Thursday 17th July 1 – 4pm





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……

It is not unreasonable for anyone to ask to be paid the London Living Wage (£8.80) or the National Living Wage (£7.65). Yet Picturehouse have refused and are imposing £7.53 ph – below the poverty threshold when they clearly have the money to pay staff. The CEO Lyn Goleby reportedly received a £15K pay increase last year, they have not paid corporation tax for the last 3 years and they are owned by Cineworld who are estimated to be on track to almost double pre-tax profits to £81m by 2015.

Thursday 17th July 2014

Meet 1pm outside BFI Southbank to march through the West End to the GLA to meet Ken Loach and other guest speakers

Please boycott Picturehouse Cinemas

Please sign the online petition:

Donate to the Fighting Fund:

Follow the campaign: and Twitter: @RitzyLivingWage