Saturday, November 04, 2006

Quotes of the Day (and Coming Attractions)

"For writers, banishment confirms the fact that literature is not benign. Most of the Chilean, Argentine, and Uruguayan writers forced into exile in recent years are paying the consequences of using words freely. As everyone knows, the dictatorships of the South erected a machinery of silence. They hope to hide reality, to erase memory, to empty consciences. From the vantage point of this plan for collective castration, the dictatorships are right to send books and newspapers that smell of gunpowder to the bonfires, and to condemn their authors to exile, prison, or the grave. Some literature is incompatible with the military's pedagogy of amnesia and lies."

--Eduardo Galeano, section 2, "Exile, Somewhere Between Nostalgia and Creativity" (trans. Mark Fried)

"For us who are determined to break the back of colonialism, our historic mission is to authorize every revolt, every desperate act, and every attack aborted or drowned in blood."

--Frantz Fanon, "On National Culture" (p. 146 of The Wretched of the Earth, trans. Richard Philcox)

These are older words, above, but their urgency is no less deeply felt because of it. A viewing list, ten films whose role is to help in a struggle great or small, on some of which I promise to write in the next few months:

Arsenal (Aleksandr Dovzhenko, 1926)
The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo, 1966)
Land and Freedom (Ken Loach, 1995)

Strike! (Sergei Eisenstein, 1924)
Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (Melvin Van Peebles, 1971)
Winstanley (Kevin Brownlow & Andrew Mollo, 1975)
Zero for Conduct (Jean Vigo, 1933)
La Commune (Paris 1871) (Peter Watkins, 2000) *
Salt of the Earth (Herbert J. Biberman, 1954) *
Flame (Ingrid Sinclair, 1996) *

* These last three I haven't seen (I know, I know), but are high on my to-see list ...


Maya said...

I adore Eduardo Galeano. My book shelves are crammed with every volume of his I can get my hands on and it has delighted me to no end whenever he appears in the Bay Area.

girish said...

La Commune is my favorite film of this (half-exhausted) decade.

Matt said...

How hard is it to get your hands on a copy?

Zach Campbell said...

Matt, I think La Commune just came out on R1 DVD--have no idea about its availability in other regions ...

Meanwhile, some NYC news. In what might be the best or the worst repertory period ever, there are competing Rivette and Rossellini (both pretty extensive) starting soon. As if that's not enough, the Walter Reade here is putting on a Kaufman Bros. series at the same time--way more than just Man with a Movie Camera, too. A cinephile's head could explode, Scanners-style.

The heartening news (for me anyway) is that this evening I've finally settled on a topic (more like a ballpark area, at this stage) for a writing project I need to work on ...

Alex said...

I would recommend also for your list Phil Karlson's The Phenix City Story, which might seem less obvious to the theme of rebellion, but actually is quite apropos.

Focus on the rarer Rivette and the Kaufman Brothers - Rossellini is a significant enough figure that you'll probably eventually be able to see most of that series at some point.

Zach Campbell said...

Alex, I'm an admirer of Karlson and would be glad to write about Phenix City Story if only I could track down a video copy or catch a screening!

(As for rep screening priorities, I probably will focus on rarer stuff by any of the filmmakers. Rossellini's India before Rivette's Va savoir, etc. A trustworthy friend gives B. Kaufman's In Spring his utmost recommendation.)

Alex said...

For The Phenix City Story, try I didn't use that website (I saw it in a retrospective), but give that a shot.