CRITICS CHAPTER

'Criticism is the only thing that stands between the audience and advertising.' - Pauline Kael


WHO WE ARE



Dr David Archibald, University Of Glasgow
Film International, Financial Times, Cineaste


Steve Ashton,
Filmvision.net

Dan Bessie
Filmmaker and Culture Critic

Prof. Dennis Broe
Jump Cut, NY Newsday, Boston Phoenix

Dianne Brooks
The Film Files, Writemovies.com

Paul Buhle
Brown University

Lisa Collins
Filmmaker

Benjamin Dickenson
Bright Lights Film Journal, UK

David Ehrenstein
Quarterly Review of Film and Video

John Esther
Los Angeles Journal

Miguel Gardel
Proletaria Press

David Spaner
KPFK Los Angeles, UprisingRadio.org,
Vancouver Georgia Straight

Michael Haas
Culture critic

Laura Hadden
Pacifica Radio

Gerald Horne
University Of Houston

Reynold Humphries
British Film Historian

Sikivu Hutchinson
BlackFemsLens.org, KPFK Radio

Jan Lisa Huttner
TheHotPinkPen.com, Films For Two

Cindy Lucia
Cineaste Magazine

Pat McGilligan
Film Historian

Prairie Miller
WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network

Logan Nakyanzi
Go Left TV, Huffington Post

Victor Navasky
The Nation

Gerald Peary
Boston Phoenix

Louis Proyect
Counterpunch, Marxmail.org

Luis Reyes
Film historian

Nancy Keefe Rhodes
NPR Radio WAER-FM,
Syracuse City Eagle

Nancy Schiesari,
BBC, Channel 4,
Univ. of Texas, Austin

Rebecca Schiller
Culture Critic

Michael Slate
Beneath The Surface, KPFK Radio

Christopher Trumbo
RIP, January 8, 2011

Dave Wagner
Mother Jones, Film International

Linda Z
LFC Film Club

Noah Zweig
Telesur


Paul Robeson With Oakland, Ca. Shipyard Workers, 1942

Black August

So in order to best cover all bases, progressive film critics tend to consider three categories of assessment, rather than two: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. The first two are self-explanatory. And the third category is reserved for movies that may have been impressively put together, but there's just something offensively anti-humanistic about them.

Stay tuned......

The Organizer

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Anti-Oscars 2013: The James Agee Cinema Circle Challenges The Academy Awards

                                Paul Gordon Is The Happy Poet

With Oscar wins based - no less than US multi-million dollar election victories - on who can afford to buy elections with the biggest bucks, The James Agee Cinema Circle has announced their Anti-Oscars, in recognition of artistic merit and humanistic values alone. In other words, unlike the Academy, which primarily focuses on entertainment or sensationalism while disregarding debasement targeting race, gender and class, the James Agee Cinema Circle bestows awards on all entries equally each year. And the only losers are relegated to their JACC Hall Of Shame.

With their citing of late iconic film critic Pauline Kael that 'Criticism is the only thing that stands between the audience and advertising,' the Critics Chapter of JACC is described as 'an association of national and international critics, historians and film scholars who are involved in print, radio, online and TV broadcast media and analysis.'

'We have come together to form the first progressive critics organization, in the belief that idealistic perspectives, voices and diverse ideological visions in film criticism that speak with social conviction and consciousness, are sorely lacking as a public platform. We will be recognizing films embodying those humanistic ideals with our annual awards.

There are so many reasons for liking or hating a movie. One big mental roadblock is being knocked out by the performances, dramatic style or cinematography, but evaluating the story as a stinker. And the typical entertainment journalist and those for sale to the commercial media corporations, will argue that if a movie is well made, it doesn't matter if the content is reactionary, degrades, or dehumanizes, or even if it is disseminating untruths about real political and historical events.

But as JACC has so succinctly pointed out, why go to such lengths to lie, when you can just simply tell the truth. And that 'why' will be one of our many probing hot topics on the table.

So in order to best cover all bases, progressive film critics tend to consider three categories of assessment, rather than two: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. The first two are self-explanatory. And the third category is reserved for movies that may have been impressively put together, but there's just something offensively anti-humanistic about them.'


The Anti-Oscars 2013: The James Agee Cinema Circle Challenges The Academy Awards

*THE TRUMBO: The Award for BEST PROGRESSIVE PICTURE is named after Oscar-winning screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, a member of the Hollywood Ten, who was imprisoned for his beliefs and refusing to inform. Trumbo helped break the Blacklist when he received screen credit for "Spartacus" and "Exodus" in 1960.

*12 YEARS A SLAVE

*THE GARFIELD: The Award for BEST ACTOR is named after John Garfield, who rose from the proletarian theatre to star in progressive pictures such as "Gentleman's Agreement" and "Force of Evil," only to run afoul of the Hollywood Blacklist.

*CHIWETEL EJIOFOR, 12 YEARS A SLAVE

*KAREN MORLEY AWARD: For BEST ACTRESS Named for Karen Morley, who was driven out of Hollywood in the 1930s for her leftist views, but who maintained her militant political activism for the rest of her life, running for Lieutenant Governor on the American Labor Party ticket in 1954. She passed away in 2003, unrepentant to the end, at the age of 93.

*JENNIFER HUDSON, WINNIE MANDELA

*THE RENOIR: The Award for BEST ANTI-WAR FILM is named after the great French filmmaker Jean Renoir, who directed the 1937 anti-militarism masterpiece, "Grand Illusion."

*EMPEROR

*THE GILLO: The Award for BEST PROGRESSIVE FOREIGN FILM is named after the Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo, who lensed the 1960s classics "The Battle of Algiers" and "Burn!"

*COMRADE KIM GOES FLYING 


*THE DZIGA: The Award for BEST PROGRESSIVE DOCUMENTARY is named after the Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov, who directed 1920s nonfiction films such as the "Kino Pravda" ("Film Truth") series and "The Man With the Movie Camera."

*THE ACT OF KILLING
 

*THE BOUND FOR GLORY AWARD: The Award for BEST ANTI-CAPITALIST FILM is named after the 1976 Hal Ashby directed biopic about Woody Guthrie, played by the late David Carradine.

*NEBRASKA
 

*LA PASSIONARA AWARD: For the most positive female images in a movie, and in light of the historically demeaning portrayal of women in movies.

*INCH'ALLAH

*OUR DAILY BREAD AWARD: For the most positive and inspiring working class images in movies this year.

*THE HAPPY POET

*THE ROBESON AWARD: Named after courageous performing legend, Paul Robeson. The award is for the movie that best expresses the people of color experience, in light of their historically demeaning portrayals in films.
 

*FREE ANGELA DAVIS AND ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS

*THE TOMAS GUTIERREZ ALEA AWARD: Named after the late legendary Cuban filmmaker. For best depicting mass popular uprising or revolutionary transformation in movies

*ASSAULT ON WALL STREET 


*THE LAWSON: The Award for BEST ANTI-FASCIST FILM this year, is named after screenwriter John Howard Lawson, one of the Hollywood Ten, who wrote Hollywood's first feature about the Spanish Civil War, 1938's "Blockade," with Henry Fonda, and anti-Nazi movies such as 1943's "Sahara," starring Humphrey Bogart.

*DIRTY WARS

*THE MODERN TIMES: The Award for Best Progressive Film SATIRE is named after Charlie Chaplin, who made 1936's "Modern Times" and 1940's "The Great Dictator."

*DON JON

*THE ORSON: The Award for BEST OVERLOOKED OR THEATRICALLY UNRELEASED
[seen at festivals, or on TV or DVD only] Progressive Film is named after actor/director Orson Welles. After he directed the masterpiece "Citizen Kane" Welles had difficulty getting most of his other movies made.

*MEDIASTAN

 
 
*THE PASOLINI: The Award for Best PRO-GAY Film is named after Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini, who directed 1964's "The Gospel According to St. Matthew" and "The Decameron" and "The Canterbury Tales" in the 1970s.

*DALLAS BUYERS CLUB

*THE SERGEI: The Award for Best Progressive LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT PROGRESSIVE ACTIVIST is named after the Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein, who created Russian revolutionary classics such as 1925's "Potemkin" and 1927's "10 Days That Shook the World."

*LAURA POITRAS: The director of My Country, My Country and The Oath. For bringing the Edward Snowden NSA revelations to light when others knew but feared to do so, driven into exile in Germany for doing just that, and currently making a documentary about it.


*BEST MOVIE LINE: INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS: Producer to struggling musician: "I don't see a lot of money in this."

*WORST QUOTE OF THE YEAR: RED 2: "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story." - Erich Hoeber, screenwriter

*THE MASSES ARE MORONS. AKA POVERTY PORN: In other words, do actors really have to look so dumb and stumble over their words or behave primitively in the extreme, when impersonating proletarians in movies?

*Out Of The Furnace
 

*ELIA KAZAN HALL OF SHAME 2013: Citations for the worst anti-workingclass and right wing movies of the year is named after director Elia Kazan, who was Hollywood's 'King Rat.' Kazan not only informed on accused radicals to the House Un-American Activities Committee, he took out a New York Times ad justifying his self-serving treachery.

Doonby
Gangster Squad
Inside Llewyn Davis
Jobs
Lone Survivor
Out Of The Furnace
Saving Mr. Banks
The Butler
The Company You Keep
The East
The Fifth Estate
The Invisible Woman
The Past
We Steal Secrets

*For more information, please contact The James Agee Cinema Circle at Miguel Gardel, ProgressiveCritics@gmail.com. Guest submissions are welcome.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Raging Bullsh*t At The Tribeca Film Festival: Letter To Robert De Niro

JACC Film Critic Louis Proyect Sounds Off Against De Niro's Tribeca Film Festival:
                                    'I'm Talkin' To You!'


Hey Bobby,

This morning I went down to the Clearview Chelsea Theater for a 9:30 press screening for a documentary on herring fishermen. I got up early just to make it there on time. My guess is that I probably would be the only person attending.

Anyhow, I stopped at the table in the lobby to check in but was told that I was not in the database. That didn’t surprise me since I never applied for press credentials. As a blogger (but with 650 film reviews on Rotten Tomatoes), I figured that I would not pass muster.

But I had been invited by the film’s publicist to attend the screening. Even though she vouched for me, I was still not admitted. It was a “security issue” they told me, as if I was concealing a pressure cooker bomb. When I told them “Fuck you and fuck the Tribeca Film Festival”, the off-duty cop serving as a security guard got up from his chair with his hand on his gun to tell me to shut up. I said that since there is no law against telling someone to fuck off, he should sit back down.

 If I ever run into you on the street, Bobby, I am going to tell you this to your face. With your fucking connections to Jonathan Tisch and your idiotic red tape and your bourgeois red carpets, you can take your fucking film festival and stick it up your ass.

Yours truly,
Louis Proyect

Louis Proyect is film editor at Counterpunch, and he writes cinema criticism and commentary at louisproyect.wordpress.com and marxmail.org.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Motherhood, Mass Resistance And Children Of Struggle


The Chilean Building [El Edificio De Los Chilenos]

 For women who commit their lives to mass struggle, there is always a choice that men never have to make. Namely to sacrifice the option of motherhood for revolutionary struggle.

But for many of the young women who joined the Revolutionary Left Movement [MIR, Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria] coalition in Chile to rise up against the 1973 bloody repressive coup by General Augusto Pinochet against the Socialist government of Salvador Allende, the choice did not exist.

And as fiercely committed young mothers already fugitives deep into the revolutionary resistance, they were not only torn between the political and personal in ways men never confront. But the parents of these offspring were also faced with the ruthless policy of the CIA-backed Pinochet regime of engaging in the kidnapping of their children as a negotiation tactic to force the surrender of these hunted revolutionaries. Along with the now well documented horrific secret adoptions of those children of the many subsequently slaughtered political martyrs in question.

And the documentary The Chilean Building [El Edificio De Los Chilenos] not only resurrects the simultaneous heartbreaking and inspiring buried history of those children hidden away in other countries by their parents for their safety. But achieves a rare intensity as well, chronicling that turbulent time. Because the filmmaker Macarena Aguilo, just happens to be one of those children back then, who surmounted the enormous challenges of that time.

Kidnapped and disappeared by the CIA when just a preschooler as an unsuccessful bargaining chip to force the surrender of her father in hiding, Macarena was released a month later. But fearful for her future, her father arranged for Macarena to be reunited with her mother already in exile in France. And eventually Macarena joined scores of other politically at-risk Chilean children at a commune set up for them in Havana. Which came to be known as the Chilean Building.




Winner of the Best Documentary at the New York International Latino Film Festival last year, The Chilean Building is an alternately euphoric and solemn collective recollection by many of those young spunky survivors and their parents and fellow comrade guardians, of the 'tremendous invitation' that welcomed them in Cuba. And the unique experience of a society where 'everything Cuba does is for everyone,' and every house belongs to everybody,' in 'a good place for children, because everyone loves them.'

Yet at the same time, the emotionally tragic truth for which neither the children nor parents have been able to achieve closure to this day. Namely, the utopian political dream tasted in Cuba - of a society dissociated from 'consumption, individualism and competition for money.' But necessitating the enormous personal sacrifices of those Chilean parents and children, that in the end left all their lives personally damaged, and bereft of an anticipated legacy that has never been realized in Chile.

The Chilean Building is an impassioned recollection of intimate and collective memory, through difficult testimony, and heartbroken yet politically resolute letters written by parents to their children from afar through those years, and the grown children today who sublimate those traumatic feelings through healing art. Along with moments of tender humor, as when one of them recalls with delight as an only child, being suddenly surrounded by sixty new siblings. And another expressing relief - perhaps regarding his own anticipation of parenthood in a very different, disillusioning world in Chile today - that in the Chilean Building in Cuba, 'I didn't have television to screw up my head.'

And a mother's letter in particular written back then, magnifies and solidifies the sustained resilience of Macarena and those other young hearts and minds:

'Tomorrow you shall begin a path with many other children, and you'll have the loving hands of our comrades to carry you forward. If there's anything I wanted to give you and learn with you, it is to live intensely, to love with your eyes. With a desire to feel and to always move forward, trying to stay true to what we've said. And if I leave you today, it's because that small, honest commitment I gave you urges many of us, hopefully thousands, to go struggle with our comrades in Chile...And that victory shall be for you, for all the children of Chile.'

And no matter what the outcome, in a brokenhearted parent's explanation for the hopefully comprehending mind of a child, it was about a time of 'such monumental craziness, but we tried to do it well. We tried to do everything with our hearts.'

Candid and ironic, replete with raw feelings yet never truly defeatist, The Chilean Building vividly poses solemn questions about the price of struggle, but without ever quite relinquishing political hope. And as one can glean in tentative but miraculous ways as legacy, beyond the scope of this movie, such as in the case of Spanish judge, lawyer, and international jurist, Baltasar Garzón. Who leads the legal team representing Wikileaks and Julian Assange, currently seeking political asylum holed up for months in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, fighting anticipated US prosecution.

Garzón in fact, revolutionized the international justice system two decades ago by issuing an arrest warrant for  Pinochet for crimes against humanity in Chile. For which Pinochet was never in fact brought to justice, but Garzón's actions spearheaded the fight against such impunity in Latin America, and the rest of the world.

The Chilean Building is being released theatrically at The Maysles Cinema in NYC, August 13th through 19th - a Harlem theater devoted to the recognition of documentary film. More information is online at:

Magic-lantern-films.com/the-chilean-building
Mayslesinstitute.org

Prairie Miller

Friday, August 3, 2012

Batman And Edgar Ulmer: The Resistant Cinema Summer Alternative

Broe on the World Film Beat

Edgar Ulmer: Summer Antidote for Fascist Genre Films


LISTEN TO THE SHOW HERE
 



I’m Dennis Broe and this is deep summer, a time when, with blockbusters seemingly the only thing to watch, some people stop going to movies. And some people go to movies and start opening fire. I don’t want to say there is a direct link between the very dark sentiments which Warner’s has unleashed in this Batman trilogy and the horrible incident at the opening but while the Dark Knight series--with its open advocacy of vigilante violence, its canniness in bringing childhood trauma into the psyche of the villains like Heath Ledger’s Joker but at the same time its irresponsibility in refusing to trace the roots of that trauma, and  its validation of the allure of personal weaponry as in the second part’s romantic representation of the Batmobile storming out  of the batcave and down the streets of Gotham as paralleling the US convoys storming out of the emerald city in Baghdad--seems willy nilly to be unleashing a storm of negativity with no thought about the consequences except at the box office and the consequences may have caught up with the series.

There is also, by the way, every reason to believe that Warner’s may end up benefitting from the incident, with a film that was destined to be the main topic of conversation on weekends now becoming the main topic of conversation all week long and with domestic earnings, where the film was supposed to have trouble, placing it as the third largest opening of all time and the largest non-3D opening. Christopher Nolan claims the series is not political, that he is just randomly picking up elements of the society and tossing them in the stew, but that argument assumes that the society that he so intuitively grasps is not political, that it is not a society that is greedier, more desperate and more despairing as it is failing, all qualities that the Dark Knight series registers but refuses to analyze and thus contributes itself to pushing the greed, despair and desperation.

That the opening night, real-life, villain was from a town near Columbine again also reinforces Michael Moore’s point that personal violence is linked to social violence in a society that leads the world in the manufacture and sale of armaments, and in a town which is one of the loci of those corporate sales, since Raytheon, the third largest US weapons manufacturer has a major plant there. Indeed, the assassin, though he claims to be the like the Joker, is actually closer to Bruce Wayne in his personal assembly of public weaponry.

(Footnote, last fall one Saturday I was trying to get to Zucotti Park to visit the Occupy Movement and people were having to circumnavigate the park because there was filming going on. At first, I innocently thought it might be a director making a film about the Occupy Movement and when I asked what was being shot the production people, presumably a little guilty about the interference, would not say. I finally discovered that it was the Dark Knight who, rather than being on the side of the people, was instead on the side of our own Commissioner Gordon and the NYPD, not in fighting crime on Wall Street but in preventing people from taking part in the movement to fight crime there. I think that says something about which side of the 1/99% divide Batman’s brand of vigilante justice comes down on.  

Now to less fascist, more pleasant, and, indeed, more resistant, late summer cinema. Since it is summer download, rental season, have I got some downloads for you, courtesy of the French Cinematheque in Paris which is in the process of wrapping a series on a director who is truly the king of the B’s, Edgar Ulmer. It’s safe to say that no director has ever worked in so many different kinds of off-Hollywood production modes over such a long period, persistently either refusing or being refused by the major studios.

The output also really varies.  The ‘30s and early ‘40s films are a fascinating melange, ranging from public interest melodramas like the very startling Damaged Lives (1933) where a corporate wonderboy for a wedding present, albeit unwittingly, gives his bride syphilis to race movies like Moon Over Harlem (1939) at the end of the Harlem Renaissance where Ulmer keeps pace with African American director Oscar Micheaux is presenting a slice of Harlem life complete with a villainous figure named “Wall Street,” to Yiddish musical dramas like the shtetl slice-of –life-in-the-fields numbers in The Singing Blacksmith (1938), to Ukranian operas, like Cossacks In Exile (1938) shot on the sly at night on the steppes of, not Siberia, but Winnipeg.

The ‘40s to the mid-‘50s were his Hollywood genre period, where Ulmer all but ran the Poverty Row Studio PRC. They consisted of: what many still feel is the founding text of that permutation of the crime film, called the film noir, Detour (1945); women’s melodrama like the underrated Strange Woman with, it is said Ulmer being the only director who ever got Hedy Lamarr to act in this case as a woman whose desire outstrips the narrow confines of her new England town; social melodrama such as the excellent Ruthless (1948) , which is after The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946), perhaps the sharpest examination of the brutality of a postwar capitalist competitiveness and which ends with the two lead characters plunging  to their deaths rather than back down on their avaricious claims; and, finally, even westerns, like the noir western The Naked Dawn, in 1955, a far more damning critique of the results of 10 years of postwar greed then say John Huston’s Treasure of Sierra Madre (1948).

The work as a whole in this period stakes a claim for Ulmer not only as a major director who worked well in all the Hollywood genre staples, the poor man’s Howard Hawkes, but also, as George Lipsitz notes, as understanding and representing the bitter disappointment that the world did not change after the war almost better than any other director. And finally, in the late ‘50s and ‘60s, his mostly forgettable late B’s where the excitement has all to do with watching Ulmer ingest at least a modicum of intelligence into miserable work for hire as in, for example, his working around Victor Mature not even phoning it in, let’s say texting it in, as a bloated Hannibal (1959) in a Warner’s late ‘50s low-budget co-production in Italy with Ulmer, in a feat on a level somewhat duplicating that of the Carthaginian general, figuring out how to get elephants across the Alps on $10 a day.
 
Ulmer’s early 20th Century Viennese origins--his first film, made in Vienna People on Sunday (1929) tracked the actions of three workers on a typical Sunday in a quasi-documentary answer to King Vidor’s The Crowd (1928)  and was a who’s who of East European filmmakers on their way to Hollywood, with a script by Billy Wilder and co-direction by Robert Siodmak—imbued his films  with a conscious attunement to the political situation, a somewhat doomed sensibility, a German Expressionist sense of the camera and the setting--he began as an art director--as the window of the soul, and a rabid interest in music, all of which  served constantly as a way of enlivening his American B films as well as making them strange, of defamiliarizing them.

Thus, in the late B Beyond the Time Barrier (1960), the pilot who breaks the aforementioned barrier winds up in a future consisting of an earth devastated by a nuclear explosion and at the center of it is the leader, not a mutation as are many of the earthlings, but a rather cultured gentleman whose grey space suit cannot belie his Viennese coffee house elegance and the measured pace of his Eastern European accent. Damaged Lives, which might have been nothing more than a public address message about syphilis, instead becomes, in Ulmer’s hands, a twisted critique of the corporate head who after passing the disease on to his new wife, somewhat blithely dismisses its consequences since they have been told it can be cured in a few years. She, though, consumed with shame, in a scene foreshadowing the disenchantment with the optimism of the American dream which will be the subject of Detour, turns the gas on in the apartment and lies down beside her sleeping husband, content to kill them both. The film has a happy ending sustaining the can-do ingenuity of the corporate head which feels quite false and which will not be repeated in the gloom of the lead character’s unredeemable misery in Detour.

Equally critical of the developing power of the American bourgeoisie is Her Sister’s Secret (1946), beginning in the old world decadence of a New Orleans New Year where the heroine is impregnated by a soldier who then departs for the war. Her sister obligingly guards her secret by taking the baby, but since the film is at least partially focalized through the viewpoint of the pregnant woman who continues to want her baby back, the sister’s and her wealthy husband’s magnanimous gesture can be read, since they cannot have children, as a selfish gesture by a class that takes what it likes.

Best of all the melodramas, and the most neglected, is The Strange Woman, in which Ulmer presents the backwoods of Banghor Maine of the 19th century as a savage place filled not with Indians but with rowdy loggers who, egged on by the town’s greedy storeowner stage their own bacchanal, more Walpurgesnacht—the medieval night when all demons appear--then backwoods Saturday night. The film follows the daughter of a town drunkard who grows up damaged but unwilling to renege her desire. She is so in touch with her own passion that she ruins two men, including the shopkeeper, and almost a third until she is finally brought down for her blatant lust, which in the American context, is often translated as a crime.
 
Ulmer was indeed the king of more for less, mastering the B film technique of shooting at night and using shadows to conceal the lack of budget. He was a match for that other director whose strongest work was in the Eagle Lion Bs, Anthony Mann, who in his take on the French Revolution The Black Book (1949), the title an equating of the years of the French Terror to its contemporary period of the House Un-American Activities Committee, staged the Revolution on a narrow backlot entirely at night. Ulmer’s films are similarly smart and elegant festivals of metonymy and the power of sparse lighting. In Cossacks in Exile, funded by the Ukrainian community in Canada, there is a scene where in this opera set in the 18th century, the Cossacks are forced by the Czar to flee to Turkey. In this part-for-the-whole aesthetic, we cut to one small boat crammed with really a few Cossacks at night looking through the shadows toward Turkey, or, in reality, towards Nova Scotia.

Ulmer had a Viennese love of music, directing loose musical interpretations from the Yiddish theater The Singing Blacksmith, The Light Ahead (1939), a wartime juke musical, Jive Junction (1943), and his labor of love Carnegie Hall (1947), with musicians Jascha Heifetz and Arthur Rubinstein and conductor Leopold Stokowski remaining the actual stars of a slightly fictionalized narrative around the musical space. But it was again in the Ukrainian operas Coszacks and the lesser Natalka Poltavka 1937) that Ulmer attempted, through his own editing, his montage, to illustrate the thought and feeling of the arias in a way that allowed the music to come to the forefront with the image, so that the image rather than overwhelming the music, enhances it, while still being far more than just filmed theater.
  
Ulmer claimed he was only ever seeking an A picture Hollwood budget, but since the work in some many different modes of production was so consistently interesting, perhaps his was a case a bit like John Garfield whose heart gave out just before he was to testify in front of HUAC, that is his heart would not let him betray his fellows. Perhaps the same was true for Ulmer whose subconscious would never let him enter the more rigid big budget world of the Dark Knight where a stultifying professionalism, devoid of politics in a conservative society and thus politically conservative, converts all passion into simple box-office gain.
  
You can also listen to this edition of Broe on the World Film Beat on Newsblaze Newswire.

Next up on Bro on the World Film Beat: “Cinema European et le Crise. A report on the latest victim of the financial crisis, Portuguese Cinema, which despite its featuring its own new wave and one of the most prominent of global up-and-coming directors Miguel Gomes has been entirely defunded by a right-wing, austerity-crazed, government.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Arts Express: Koch Brothers Exposed


**The Koch Brothers Exposed: A conversation with eminent activist filmmaker Robert Greenwald about his investigative documentary addressing the enigma: Who exactly are the reactionary billionaire brothers, where did they come from, what do they have to gain and what can be done to stop them. And, what is the Koch connection to the Tea Party, climate change, the Keystone pipeline, the John Birch Society, Stalin, think tanks, front groups and buying democracy. Also, new strategies for raising mass consciousness through movies. And finally, does all this make Robert Greenwald a Koch-head?


LISTEN TO THE SHOW HERE
 


**Occupy Nation: The Roots, The Spirit And The Promise Of Occupy Wall Street. Gitlin gets it. Veteran social historian and movement chronicler Todd Gitlin phones in to Arts Express to talk about his latest book tracing the trailblazing movement, from its origins to its unconventional potential as a force for social change. And sheds light on the challenges of making the political personal, what constitutes hope, and exiting inertia. As he probes OWS growing pains, rituals, obsessions, inner tensions and commitment to economic justice. And how when he first felt the intensity and scale of the movement, he knew it was for real.

**Best Of The Net Hotspot: Mama Hope. Taking a look at African men and Hollywood stereotypes.

Stay tuned for continuing features of Arts Express: Expression In The Arts. Airing On WBAI Radio's Pacifica Network and Affiliate Stations. And if you'd like to Express yourself too, you can write to: ArtsExpressradio@gmail.com

Sunday, March 18, 2012

High Noon And The West Coast Docks



By Daniel Borgström

'...I stood there, thinking at the time how much this resembled a scene from High Noon, and was moved to see a substantial show of hands. Five weeks after the attack, on May 12, 2003, several hundred people marched back into the Port of Oakland and set up a picket line at the terminal where people had been attacked and injured. Thus the First Amendment rights of the community were reaffirmed; it was an amazing experience, an amazing day to be alive...'

CONTINUE TO READ  DISSIDENT VOICE ARTICLE HERE

Courtesy of Noah Zweig

Thursday, January 5, 2012

**The Year In Movies 2011: The James Agee Cinema Circle On Arts Express Radio


**The Year In Movies 2011: The James Agee Cinema Circle Political Perspective. It's no accident that all the film groups voting yearly for awards seem to come up with the same monotonous results. The dirty little secret of Hollywood is that awards are as calculated and predetermined as any lobbyist peddling influences in Congress. And here to disclose this reality and more from the unique perspective of the JACC Critics Chapter, is Arts Express Radio mystery guest, The Unrepentant Marxist.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW HERE
 

**Music From The Barricades: The Arts Express Best Of The Net Hotspot pick from the Occupy Movement for this week. Plus, Best People's Soundtrack of 2011.

Stay tuned for continuing features of Arts Express: Expression In The Arts. Airing On WBAI Radio's Pacifica Network and Affiliate Stations, including WPRR: Public Reality Radio. And if you'd like to Express yourself too, you can write to: ArtsExpressradio@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

***THE ANTI-OSCARS***: THE BEST POLITICAL FILMS OF 2011


IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT


THE TRUMBO: The Award For BEST PROGRESSIVE DRAMATIC FEATURES is named after Oscar-winning screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, a member of the Hollywood Ten, who was imprisoned for his beliefs and refusing to inform. Trumbo helped break the Blacklist when he received screen credit for "Spartacus" and "Exodus" in 1960.
3 BACKYARDS
ALBERT NOBBS
THE CONSPIRATOR
DRIVE
50/50
THE LINCOLN LAWYER
MEET MONICA VELOUR
THE MUSIC NEVER STOPPED
PUNCTURE
REPO CHICK
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
THE WHISTLEBLOWER


THE GARFIELD:
The Award for BEST ACTORS is named after John Garfield, who rose from the proletarian theatre to star in progressive pictures such as "Gentleman's Agreement" and "Force of Evil," only to run afoul of the Hollywood Blacklist.
GEORGE CLOONEY: THE DESCENDANTS
JOSEPH GORDON LEVITT: 50/50
LOU TAYLOR PUCCI: THE MUSIC NEVER STOPPED


KAREN MORLEY AWARD:
For BEST ACTRESSES. Named for Karen Morley, who was driven out of Hollywood in the 1930s for her leftist views, but who maintained her militant political activism for the rest of her life, running for Lieutenant Governor on the American Labor Party ticket in 1954. She passed away in 2003, unrepentant to the end, at the age of 93.
GLENN CLOSE: ALBERT NOBBS
DANAI GURIRA: 3 BACKYARDS
MARGARITA LEVIEVA: THE LINCOLN LAWYER
JANET MCTEER: ALBERT NOBBS
KATIE O'GRADY: RID OF ME
ROBIN WRIGHT: THE CONSPIRATOR


THE RENOIR: The Award for BEST ANTI-WAR FILMS is named after the great French filmmaker Jean Renoir, who directed the 1937 anti-militarism masterpiece, "Grand Illusion."
CATERPILLAR
THE MUSIC NEVER STOPPED


THE GILLO: The Award for BEST PROGRESSIVE FOREIGN FILMS is named after the Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo, who lensed the 1960s classics "The Battle of Algiers" and "Burn!"
THE OLD SCHOOL OF CAPITALISM
THE IRON CROWS
LE HAVRE
POETRY
THE TIME THAT REMAINS
WHEN WE LEAVE
ZERO BRIDGE

THE DZIGA: The Award for BEST PROGRESSIVE DOCUMENTARIES is named after the Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov, who directed 1920s nonfiction films such as the "Kino Pravda" ("Film Truth") series and "The Man With the Movie Camera."
THE BIG FIX
THE BIG UNEASY
THE BILL HICKS STORY
DAMN!
THE LAST MOUNTAIN
PLASTIC PLANET
THE PRICE OF SEX
PROJECT NIM
RED SHIRLEY
SEMPER FI: ALWAYS FAITHFUL
UNDER THE BOARDWALK
WOMEN ART REVOLUTION
YOU BETCHA


THE BOUND FOR GLORY AWARD:
The Award for BEST ANTI-CAPITALIST FILMS is named after the 1976 Hal Ashby directed biopic about Woody Guthrie, played by the late David Carradine.
BATTLE FOR BROOKLYN
THE BIG FIX
THE BIG UNEASY
CHASING MADOFF
CRIME AFTER CRIME
FARMAGEDDON
THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD
IF A TREE FALLS
THE LAST MOUNTAIN
MOTHERLAND
THE MAN NOBODY KNEW
MARGIN CALL
THE OLD SCHOOL OF CAPITALISM
THE PRICE OF SEX
PROGRAMMING THE NATION
PUNCTURE
REPO CHICK


LA PASSIONARA AWARD:
For the most positive female images in a movie, and in light of the historically demeaning portrayal of women in movies.
ALBERT NOBBS
CRIME AFTER CRIME
THE HEDGEHOG
THE HELP
MEEK'S CUTOFF
MOZART'S SISTER
RED SHIRLEY
RID OF ME
SHEHERAZADE: TELL ME A STORY
SNOWFLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN
WHEN WE LEAVE
THE WHISTLEBLOWER
ZERO BRIDGE


OUR DAILY BREAD AWARD:
For the most positive and inspiring working class images in movies this year.
3 BACKYARDS
ALBERT NOBBS
THE HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER
ILLEGAL
THE INHERITORS
THE LAST MOUNTAIN
PIECE OF THE PIE
RED SHIRLEY

THE ROBESON AWARD: Named after courageous performing legend, Paul Robeson. The award is for the movies that best express the people of color experience, in light of their historically demeaning portrayals in films.
3 BACKYARDS
THE HELP
PARIAH


THE TOMAS GUTIERREZ ALEA AWARD:
Named after the late legendary Cuban filmmaker. For best depicting mass popular uprising or revolutionary transformation in movies
AMIGO
EVEN THE RAIN
IF A TREE FALLS
PIECE OF THE PIE
THE OLD SCHOOL OF CAPITALISM


THE SERGEI:
The Award for Best Progressive LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT OR ACTIVISM is named after the Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein, who created Russian revolutionary classics such as 1925's "Potemkin" and 1927's "10 Days That Shook the World."
DARYL HANNAH


THE LAWSON: The Award for BEST ANTI-FASCIST FILMS this year, is named after screenwriter John Howard Lawson, one of the Hollywood Ten, who wrote Hollywood's first feature about the Spanish Civil War, 1938's "Blockade," with Henry Fonda, and anti-Nazi movies such as 1943's "Sahara," starring Humphrey Bogart.
CATERPILLAR
THE DEBT
SARAH'S KEY


THE MODERN TIMES:
The Award for Best Progressive Film SATIRES is named after Charlie Chaplin, who made 1936's "Modern Times" and 1940's "The Great Dictator."
PIECE OF THE PIE
REPO CHICK

THE ORSON: The Award for BEST OVERLOOKED OR THEATRICALLY UNRELEASED [seen at festivals, or on TV or DVD only] Progressive Films is named after actor/director Orson Welles. After he directed the masterpiece "Citizen Kane" Welles had difficulty getting most of his other movies made.
BACK OF THE BUS
THE CLIENT LIST
RED SQUAD
TRIANGLE FIRE [JAMILA WIGNOT]


THE PASOLINI: The Award for Best PRO-GAY Films is named after Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini, who directed 1964's "The Gospel According to St. Matthew" and "The Decameron" and "The Canterbury Tales" in the 1970s.
PARIAH
TOAST


COURAGE IN FILMAKING:
:
THE OCCUPY WALL STREET MOVEMENT


ELIA KAZAN HALL OF SHAME 2011
: Citations for the worst anti-workingclass and right wing movies of the year is named after director Elia Kazan, who was Hollywood’s 'King Rat.' Kazan not only informed on accused radicals to the House Un-American Activities Committee, he took out a New York Times ad justifying his self-serving treachery.

*The Elia Kazan Hall Of Shame represents the 'don't tell me to shut up' sidebar contribution of individual members, and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Circle. Also, members may be objecting to particular characters in a film, and not the entire movie.

Atlas Shrugged: A Tea Party directed and funded production taunting the status quo with a Greed Is Fabulous mantra - and laced with topsy turvy Marxism extolling robber barons in mass rebellion.

Hollywood's Odious Icons of 2011: J. Edgar and The Iron Lady's faux feminist, Margaret Thatcher.

Melancholia: One Percent self-indulgent navel-gazing.

Page One: Disingenuous infomercial disguised as doc spins the NY Times.

Potiche: Anti-labor Sarkozy era cynical revisionism, in which French capitalist trophy wife Catherine Deneuve takes over as head of the union of her spouse's company.

There Be Dragons: Opus Dei funds and restages the Spanish Civil War, with Franco's fascists in league with the Catholic Church as the good guys this time around.

Snuff Movie Bad Taste Award: Hilary and company in dazzled spectator mode, assembled for a bizarre photo op at the premiere of the Osama Bin Laden Navy Seals action thriller. Popcorn and Jawbreakers, anyone?

Pariah Vs. Precious: Authentic Tale Vs. Poverty Porn

Courtesy of Noah Zwieg




'...A movie about a Black teenage girl struggling with her identity, who suffers verbal abuse from her mother and struggles to fit in with her peers, is currently getting a strong Oscar buzz. No, the movie is not “Precious 2” it is “Pariah,” the story of a teenage lesbian coming to grips with her identity. Fortunately, “Pariah” differs with “Precious” in several key ways, making this offering a markedly better standout.'


READ NEWSONE FOR BLACK AMERICA ARTICLE HERE

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Atlas Shrugged: Who Is Dagney Taggart, And Why Does She Hate The Workingclass?


...Atlas Shrugged taunts the status quo with a combo Greed Is Fabulous mantra, laced with topsy turvy Marxism extolling robber barons in mass rebellion. And with a right wing feminazi head honcho presiding over a railroad empire, who nevertheless dresses like she just exited modeling school. But in the end, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged seems to be serving up nothing more than lots of hokey capitalist wishful thinking, disclaimer free zone super-wealthy diatribes, and pretentious political yakety yak...

READ ATLAS SHRUGGED MOVIE REVIEW HERE



...The rich man’s “strike” portrayed in the film would be a blessing for working people today. If, like the “great men” in the film, today’s rich of the world walked away from their banks, factories, mines and oil wells, for whatever reason, this would be no problem for the working class. We pump the oil, work the cash registers, do the hours in the plants, cook the food, invent things, create works of art, design computer programs, build buildings and do all else that produces society’s wealth.

We could easily own and operate society without the leeches at the top because they contribute nothing, merely owning what is collectively produced. Our message to all billionaires who would rally behind Rand’s fictional John Galt and give up their supposed greatness in protest is, “Good riddance!”

We simply don’t need the rich...

CONTINUE TO READ REVIEW HERE