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Leos Carax Retrospective 1328 Montana Avenue Santa Monica, Ca 90403

Collective Emancipation: Another Look at French Militant Cinema

Image: "Our Defeats" by Jean-Gabriel Périot

“Do we always have to follow society’s rules?” This simple question is raised in Jean-Gabriel Périot’s 2019 film OUR DEFEATS, and its challenge to consensus offers a way back to the idea of militant cinema. In France, this idea has become inseparable from the revolutionary unrest that seized the country during the 1960s, and immediately evokes the waves of anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist films produced outside the industry at that time. Our series starts from this moment and heads in two directions. On the one hand, it offers English-speaking audiences a chance to engage with a small slate of newly subtitled film and video from visionary figures like Marceline Loridan-Ivens, Bruno Muel, and Carole Roussopoulos. On the other, it places these older shorts and features in dialogue with more recent efforts from contemporary filmmakers like Périot and Narimane Mari, whose work responds to and transforms the issues they raise.

Anthology Film Archives open this online series from July 14-27.


PROGRAM

PART 1: WORKERS AND STUDENTS

Jacques Willemont, Pierre Bonneau, Liane Estiez-Willemont
RESUMPTION OF WORK AT THE WONDER FACTORY / LA REPRISE DU TRAVAIL AUX USINES WONDER
1968, 11 min, In French with English subtitles.

In June 1968, after the Grenelle Agreement, work starts up again at the Wonder factories in Saint-Ouen, a suburb on the northern outskirts of Paris. In the middle of a mainly male group, a young female work rebels: "No, I will not return. I will no longer set foot in this jail, it's too disgusting!"

A camera is there, which records her anger and the reactions it provokes.

Bruno Muel
WITH THE BLOOD OF OTHERS / AVEC LE SANG DES AUTRES
1974, 52 min, In French with English subtitles.
“No matter what you say about it, no matter what improvements you make, the work itself remains.” Bruno Muel’s devastating portrait of factory life in eastern France shows the political utopias of the sixties evaporating in the face of disillusionment, economic downturns, and anti-totalitarian rhetoric. 

Jean-Gabriel Périot
OUR DEFEATS / NOS DÉFAITES
2019, 88 min, In French with English subtitles.
Nowadays in France, a group of teenagers reenact iconic films from the 1968’s era. While barely able to define neither political commitment nor the idea of revolution at first, they gradually realize that the perspectives from the past still echoe on our present politics and that within our defeats may rise the strength to face today’s chaos and its challenges.

PART 2: ABORTION RIGHTS, SEX WORK, PRECARIAT FEMINISMS

Carole Roussopoulos
JUST DON’T FUCK! / Y’A QU’À PAS BAISER!
1971, 17 min, In French with English subtitles.
Roussopoulos deftly brings together central issues in France’s nascent women’s movement in just under seventeen minutes. Insisting that feminist struggle is a struggle over representation, the video’s opening montage juxtaposes images of women in French media with shots of real people at the 1971 International Women’s March.

Carole Roussopoulos
THE PROSTITUTES OF LYON SPEAK OUT / LES PROSTITUÉES DE LYON PARLENT
1975, 46 min, In French with English subtitles.
In June 1975, to protest against police harassment and social marginalization, 100 sex workers occupied the Saint Nizier church in downtown Lyon for over a week. 

Marcel Trillat
PRECARIAT WOMEN / FEMMES PRÉCAIRES
2005, 82 min, In French with English subtitles.
This sensitive and clear-eyed documentary accompanies five women at the edge of the labor market as they grapple with the compounded pressures of gender inequality and economic insecurity. Their unending work mopping, cutting, cleaning, folding, cooking, sorting, and calculating highlights the overlap of first, second, and third shifts for women, and situates the diffuse transformation of proletariat into precariat at the level of daily life. 

PART 3: DECOLONIZATION, REVOLUTION, INDEPENDENCE

Marceline Loridan-Ivens & Jean-Pierre Sergent
ALGERIA YEAR ZERO / ALGÉRIE, ANNÉE ZÉRO
1962, 35 min, In French with English subtitles.
Six months after the end of the Algerian War, Loridan, Sergent, and cameraman Bruno Muel crafted this engaged portrait of a newly-independent nation uniting around the immense task of social and economic reconstruction. 

Narimane Mari
LE FORT DES FOUS
2017, 140 min, In French, English, Arabic, and Greek with English subtitles.
Pushing further out from the meditation on the Algerian War in Mari’s previous feature, the amazing BLOODY BEANS (2013), this three-act experimental documentary places colonial domination within a broader frame. 

Florent Marcie
TOMORROW TRIPOLI
2014, 180 min, In English, Arabic, and French with English subtitles.
Marcie’s epic front-line account of the 2011 Libyan revolution follows an improbably loose collective of Zintanese anti-Gaddafi forces from their initial step over the barricades to a final push into the presidential compound. Navigating between immediacy and distance, this unforgettable chronicle of the eight-month insurgency underscores the chaos and complexities of national liberation struggles.

Informations and reservation here.

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