Roma Ore 11.00 + shorts by Coronet Instructional Films
Roma Ore 11 / Rome 11:00 (1952)
Directed by Giuseppe De Santis
Based on a real incident, this is the story of five girls who are among the 200 women who answer an ad for a modest secretarial position one rainy morning in Rome in 1951. They crowd and push their way into the old building and fight their way up the stairs to await an interview, only to be told there is not enough time to interview all candidates. A scuffle breaks out and the stairway collapses sending many of them hurtling down in a mass of bodies amid brick and mortar. Among them are the well-born wife of a poor artist; a streetwalker making an attempt to change her life; an unhappy servant girl; and the desperate wife of an unemployed factory worker. How the event changes or fails to change their lives is told.
I Want to Be a Secretary (1941)
Coronet Instructional Films
Follows a young woman through her clerical training and job search. Shows pre-World War II offices and office workers, primarily women. One of Coronet’s earliest educational films.
The Secretary’s Day (1947)
Coronet Instructional Films
The daily activities of a secretary are compared with those of a stenographer to show the added responsibilities and duties of the secretary.
The Common House
Unit 5E Pundersons Gardens
London E2 9QGT
“I used to believe in many things, all of it! Now, I believe only in dynamite.”
Lima Zulu and Full Unemployment Cinema present Death on the Run a 3 day short season of Spaghetti and deviant Westerns.
21st – 23rd FEB
LimaZulu, 3J Omega Works, 167 Hermitage Road, N4 1LZ
The western is an intensely political genre, but if the American western mythologises heroism, order and Manifest Destiny the Italian “Spaghetti” western deals with an altogether different subject matter. This short season will explore some of the themes central to Italian and other deviant westerns – anti-colonialism, ultra-violence, anti-heroic nihilism and revolutionary intransigence, amongst others.
Connected to the season of screenings Benjamin Noys will give a presentation on ‘The Spaghetti Western, Politics and the Horrors of Resistance’ (Sat.22nd Feb. 17.30).
A publication featuring essays on the Spaghetti Western and the various forms of cynicism, nihilism and revolt that appear within them and other deviant westerns will also be available.
Fri 21st Feb 1300hrs A Fistful of Dollars, dir. Leone, 1964
1500hrs Yojimbo, dir. Kurosawa, 1961
1930hrs Opening event
2100hrs Black God, White Devil, dir. Rocha, 1964
Sat 22nd Feb 1200hrs Le Vent D’Est, dir. Godard, 1970
1300hrs Django Kill!/If you live, shoot!, dir. Questi, 1967
1730hrs Benjamin Noys on The Spaghetti Western, Politics and the Horrors of Resistance
1830hrs Tepepa, dir. Petroni, 1968
2130hrs Django, dir. Corbucci, 1966
Sun 23rd Feb 1300hrs Il Grande Silenzio, dir Corbucci, 1968
1500hrs I Quattro dell’apocalisse, dir. Fulci, 1975
1730hrs A bullet for the general, dir. Damiani, 1966
2030hrs Duck, you sucker!, dir. Leone, 1971
For some further Program notes see below:
Black God, White Devil, dir. Glauber Rocha, 1964
A Fistful of Dollars, Sergio Leone, 1964, Italy, West Germany & Spain, 99 mins
Yojimbo, Akira Kurosawa, 1961, Japan, 110 mins
“Signor Leone—I have just had the chance to see your film. It is a very fine film,
but it is my film. As Japan is a signatory to the Berne Convention on international
copyright, you must pay me.”
– Akira Kurosawa in a letter to Sergio Leone
“Plagiarism is necessary. Progress implies it.”
– Guy Debord, La Société du spectacle (after Comte de Lautréamont)
Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars (1964) may be seen as the genre defining Spaghetti Western, a visual and thematic reference point for the films that followed it. Leone had noted that Italian audiences found the tired conceits of American westerns laughable and sought to reinvent the Western. Drawing heavily on the plot, characters and composition of Yojimbo (1964), Leone transposed Kurosawa’s tale of a masterless samurai-a rõnin- who plays off two crime lords against one another to the Spanish desert.
The result was a Western that did away with romantic and heroic clichés, replacing them with violence, fatalism and cynicism. Bridging the gap between the classic American Western and the Spaghetti Western is Clint Eastwood who plays the eponymous Man with No Name, an anti-heroic role he chose after he tired of playing ‘the conventional white hat [….] the hero who kisses old ladies and dogs and was kind to everybody.’
Leone’s use of Kurosawa’s film as ‘inspiration’ was entirely unauthorised-The Magnificent Seven it ain’t- with Kurosawa taking legal action that delayed international sales of the film. Borrowing plots and characters was seemingly common in Italian Cinema at the time, and though Leone and his producers would argue that both Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest and Carlo Goldoni‘s eighteenth-century play Servant of Two Masters were equally important influences on A Fistful of Dynamite they eventually settled, with Kurosawa and Kikushima getting Asian rights to the film and 15% of the international box office. It’s also worth noting that Kurosawa in turn stated that a major source for the plot of Yojimbo was the 1942 film noir The Glass Key-an adaptation of Hammett’s novel of the same name- and critics have pointed out Yojimbo’s resemblance to Red Harvest.
The resulting success of the plagiaristic A Fistful of Dollars spurred Italian filmmakers on to produce dozens of films that began to describe and depict a very different wild west to the one the European audience had grown bored with.
Bullet for the General
Director: Damiano Damiani 1966 77 min.
Duck You Sucker
Director: Sergio Leone 1971 138 min.
This double bill presents two very different films that explore the point where the Spaghetti Western exploitation flick directly intersects with representations of revolutionary politics. The 1966 film A Bullet for the General was directed by Damiano Damiani, scripted by Franco Solinas and starred Gian Maria Volonté as the revolutionary bandit El Chuncho. As one of the first overtly political Spaghetti Westerns it more or less provided the blueprint for the ‘Zapata Western’ sub genre. It’s narrative of the friendship between a Mexican bandit/revolutionary and a Yankee gringo in the midst of revolutionary turmoil, with a corresponding focus upon betrayal, violence and the ethics of political radicalization was to be echoed by other Zapata Westerns such as Sergio Corbucci’s Compañeros (1970).
The Leftist intransigence of the film is not to be doubted given the involvement of Damiani, Solinas and Volonté. Damiani insisted that the salience of the film lay in it not being in any way a ‘Western’ movie but ‘a film about the Mexican Revolution […] and therefore […] clearly a political film and nothing else’. Solinas, a communist militant, was best known for working with Pontecorvo on The Battle of Algiers and Burn!, and A Bullet for the General features similar themes of counter-insurgency and anti-colonialism. The actor and theatre activist Volonté would turn down well-paid roles for films he considered ‘too bourgeois’ and spent much of the 1960s and 1970s engaging in the struggles of the time through both provocative Brechtian street theatre and by documenting via film occupied factories. That the film also features Klaus Kinski as bomb throwing priest and liberation theologian only serves as a further recommendation.
However, some of the overt didacticism of A Bullet for the General is thrown into question by Sergio Leone’s 1971 film Duck You Sucker, aka A Fistful of Dynamite and in France Once Upon a Time… The Revolution. While both films are set in the early 20th century Mexican Revolution and are Zapata Westerns this is where the resemblance ends. Duck You Sucker utilizes the Zapata Western template to tell the tale of the friendship between Sean Mallory (James Coburn) and Juan Miranda (Rod Steiger), the former a disillusioned but still militant Irish revolutionary and the latter a Mexican bandit. That the original Italian title of the film Giù la testa means to duck or get out of the way suggests how distant the film is from other Zapata Westerns. The film revolves around themes of self-interested survival, plebeian fatalism and nihilistic revenge, seeming to desire escape from politics rather than ethical commitment to revolution. Simultaneously, though, Duck You Sucker delights in the mythic spectacle of revolution with violent set pieces, battles, executions, immiserated crowds etc. This uneasy juxtaposition draws out one of the central contradictions of the Zapata Western more generally. This is that the blurring of political commitment with entertaining spectacle in such populist cinema is deeply problematic in the terms of radical Leftist politics. While this might explain Gian Maria Volonté’s ultimate preference for avant-garde provocation both films continue to pose this problem in a way very little contemporary cinema is capable of doing.
The Working Class Goes to Heaven
Location: The Pullens Centre, Crampton St, SE17Programme: Workers leaving the Factory by Harun Farocki followed by The Working Class Goes to Heaven by Elio Petri.
I was a piecework laborer, I followed the politics of union, I worked for productivity, I increased output, and now what have I become? I’ve become a beast, a machine, a nut, a screw, a transmission belt, a pump!
The Working Class Goes to Heaven:
Steeped in the volatile political conflicts taking place in Italy at the time, the Hot Autumn of 1969, the rejection of the compromises of the Italian communist Party (PCI), the refusal of work, factory and university occupations, Elio Petri’s film The Working Class Goes to Heaven explores the struggles in the factory in all their contradictions; between consumerism and work, alienation, libidinal desire, self-destruction and, potentially, collective action. The Working Class Goes to Heaven demonstrates an impressive and inspiring illustration of the exploitation of capital society and the alienation of workers under this system. It showed us how the ruling class manipulates the ideology into people’s mind by alienating them through work, and how the workers are exploited with and without being conscious of that. Furthermore, it also gives us a sketch of the futility of reformism and the issues which will be confronted in the process of revolution. [borrowed from: http://www.mtime.com/my/ivanxiang/blog/743233/]
Elio Petri, The Working Class Goes to Heaven/La Classe Operaia va in Paradiso (1971) 111 min.
Workers leaving the Factory:
Workers Leaving the Factory – such was the title of the first cinema film ever shown in public. For 45 seconds, this still existant sequence depicts workers at the photographic products factory in Lyon owned by the brothers Louis and Auguste Lumière hurrying, closely packed, out of the shadows of the factory gates and into the afternoon sun. Only here, in departing, are the workers visible as a social group. But where are they going? To a meeting? To the barricades? Or simply home? These questions have preoccupied generations of documentary filmmakers. For the space before the factory gates has always been the scene of social conflicts. And furthermore, this sequence has become an icon of the narrative medium in the history of the cinema. In his documentary essay, Harun Farocki explores this scene right through the history of film: ‘I have collected images from several countries and many decades expressing the idea “exiting the factory”, both staged and documentary – as if the the time has come to collect film-sequences, in the way words are brought together in a dictionary.’ Harun Farocki quoted from [arttorrents: http://arttorrents.blogspot.com/2007/08/harun-farocki-workers-leaving.html] “>Harun Farocki, Workers leaving the Factory/Arbeiter verlassen die Fabrik (1995) 36 min.