Along a railroad in the south of the former Zaire UN troups discover a few thousand refugees from Rwanda. The camps for the survivors are being massacred a little later on April 25th 1997 by the so-called liberating rebel army of the new “Democratic Republic” of Kongo – and nobody has seen this in the evening news.
Coraje narrates the last years in the life of María Elena Moyano, a black leader from Villa El Salvador (Lima, Peru), organizer of the local feminist movement, who received the Prince of Asturias Award and who was assassinated by the Communist Party Sendero Luminoso in 1992.
Singing on the Treadmill is a surreal operetta parody about the realities of day-to-day socialism. The film is set in a vast garbage dump where, in the depths of a quarry, next to a derelict factory building, two librettists are penning a frothy operetta about the paternalism of Kadarism, its lies, reality perceived through rose tinted glasses and squabbles over a housing allocation. However, their lacquered players are not prepared to bend to their will, they take offence and start demanding independence, rejecting ‘orders from above’ about partners and housing. Gyula Gazdag’s grotesque parody that works on several levels is amusing and dream-like, full of free-flowing associations and remarkable solutions. Citing its “disheartening existentialism”, the authorities banned the film for 10 years.
The day that Pier Paolo Pasolini was killed, Glauber Rocha decided to make this film about the life of Christ in the Third World. Starting from a dialectical synthesis between capitalism and socialism, and a search of interracial relationships in Brazil, Rocha created a work of religious and prophetic tone that results in a kind of bewilderment contemplative, now lyrical, now frantic, soaked in a new messianism. In his last film, the director proposed a tune of sounds and images that build a picture of Brazil and a portrait of himself.
A Greek-American filmmaker, known simply as «A», returns to his hometown in northern Greece for a screening of his latest controversial film. His real reason for coming back, however, is to track down three long-missing reels of film by Greece’s pioneering Manakia brothers who in the early years of cinema traveled through the Balkans, ignoring national and ethnic strife and recording ordinary people, especially craftsmen, on film. Their images, he believes, hold the key to lost innocence and essential truth, to an understanding of Balkan history.
Nanni Moretti’s documentary, La cosa (The Thing, 1990), represents the painful transformation of the PCI (Italian Communist Party) through the voices of the party’s members who met throughout Italy to discuss the changes proposed by the PCI’s leadership. From the confronting debates depicted in La cosa, the re-evocation of the history of the Italian Left and of its founding principles emerge as a background, creating a nostalgic longing for a style of politics that had disappeared in Italy.
This Weimar Germany film classic uses an avant-garde, fragmented narrative to tell the story of a working-class family in Berlin in 1931. Survival is difficult, with massive unemployment in the wake of the Great Depression. After Anni’s brother commits suicide in despair, her family finds itself forced to move to Kuhle Wampe, a lakeside camp on the outskirts of Berlin, now home to increasing numbers of unemployed. When Anni’s relationship with Franz ends, she moves back to Berlin and gets involved in the workers’ youth movement. Already censored in March 1932, the film was then banned by the Nazis in 1933 for having “communist tendencies.”
♦♦ Amos Vogel’s “Film as a Subversive Art” ♦♦
Sentenced to life imprisonment for illegal activities, Italian International member Giulio Manieri holds on to his political ideals while struggling against madness in the loneliness of his prison cell.