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


Liza Bear,
Bomb Magazine


Dan Bessie
Filmmaker and Culture Critic

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

Dianne Brooks
The Film Files, Writemovies.com

Lisa Collins
Filmmaker

Benjamin Dickenson
Bright Lights Film Journal, UK

David Ehrenstein
Quarterly Review of Film and Video

Miguel Gardel
Proletaria Press


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

Gerald Peary
Boston Phoenix

Steve Presence
Radical Film Network, UK


Louis Proyect
s
Counterpunch, Marxmail.org

Sandy Sanders
BlueJayWay.net

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

Rebecca Schiller
Culture Critic

David Spaner, Hollywood Inc.

Luis Reyes
, Arsenal Pulp Press

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

Monday, December 13, 2010

Johnny Depp: Tonto Si, Pancho Villa No?


Johnny Depp has been approached to play the legendary Mexican hero Pancho Villa but the RANGO star has second thoughts on playing the famous revolutionary.

Online sites reported that Serbian director Emir Kusturica is helming a movie on the Mexican Robin Hood with Johnny Depp taking on the role and Salma Hayek co-starring. However, during a press conference for his animated film RANGO on Saturday, Johnny Depp revealed the project "is up in the air," for him as he is facing a "dilemma" in playing one of the "great heroes of Mexico". While he admires his friend and filmmaker Kusturica, he feels he is not the right choice to play the leader of the 1910 Mexican revolution. "I feel like it should be played by a Mexican not some mug from Kentucky. I feel very strongly about that."

CONTINUE READING CINEMOVIE ARTICLE HERE



On The Other Hand....

Johnny Depp rides Into The Unknown As Tonto In Remake Of The Lone Ranger

...There is also potential controversy in the role of Tonto itself. The original character, with his pidgin English, has long been seen by many Native Americans as an insult. Later versions of the character – in comic strips and the 1981 film Legend of the Lone Ranger – gave Tonto more depth, making him an equal partner of the Lone Ranger. However, it still might irritate some that Tonto will be played by a white actor, mirroring the controversial practice of many early films that put Native Americans characters on screen but did not use Native American actors to play them....

CONTINUE TO READ ARTICLE HERE

Noah Zweig
JACC News Desk


"It is a sad and beautiful world." -Roberto Benigni
"Yeah, it's a sad and beautiful world, buddy." Tom Waits, Down By Law (Jarmusch,1986)

Noah is working on a dissertation tentatively entitled The Cultural and Media Politics of the Bolivarian Revolution. The project analyzes state-backed film and TV productions in Venezuela under the government of Hugo Chávez. He has an essay, "Foregrounding Public Cinema and Rural Audiences: the USDA Motion Picture Service as Cinematic Modernism, 1908-1938," in the forthcoming (fall 2009) issue of The Journal of Popular Film and Television. His interests include Latin American national cinemas, critical globalization studies, and critical cultural policy studies. Noah received a BA in Literature from UC Santa Cruz and an MA in Moving Image Archive Studies from UCLA. In addition to academic work, he has served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in East Los Angeles.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Texas Refuses to Pay ‘Machete’ Producers


WSJ Washington Wire

By Russell Gold

Let’s get this out of the way first: Robert De Niro looks nothing like Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Or Sen. John Cornyn. Or any other Texas politician we can think of.

However, Mr. De Niro’s portrayal of the fictional Sen. John McLaughlin in Machete, an B movie shoot-’em-up released in September, has apparently made some folks in Austin upset.

The Texas Film Commission says it will refuse to pay $1.75 million in state incentives to the movie’s producers citing a state law that allows the state to refuse to pay incentives for “content that portrays Texas or Texans in a negative fashion.”

But what exactly is the “negative” portrayal the governor’s staff object to? Most commentators assume it is Sen. McLaughlin’s character, a virulently anti-immigration politician whose faux ad supports an “electrified border fence” and pledges “no amnesty for parasites.”

Or is it the fact that at the end of the movie, the main character – an ex-Mexican federal police officer played by Danny Trejo – gets legal status? This is after he leads a group of Mexican immigrants in a confrontation with border vigilantes.

Calls to the Texas Film Commission were forwarded to Gov. Perry’s press office. Katherine Cesinger, the governor’s spokeswoman, said the letter to the filmmakers didn’t specify why the movie ran afoul of the “negative” portrayal criteria. “The totality of the project is what the office takes a look at,” she said.

In this era of states hemorrhaging red ink, will others follow Texas’s lead and play film critic, only handing out incentives to Hollywood for movies and television shows that meet certain content guidelines? The Motion Picture Association of America told The Wall Street Journal this summer that no other state reviews the content of films before awarding subsidies.

At any rate, the loss of $1.75 million won’t bankrupt the aptly named Troublemaker Studios, the production company that made the film. The production budget was $10.5 million and it’s domestic gross was $26.6 million, according to website Box Office Mojo.

One big winner: Machete and Troublemaker Studios. The movie has yet to be released on DVD and, as they say, all publicity is good publicity.

Machete was distributed by 20th Century Fox, which, like The Wall Street Journal, is owned by News Corp.

Noah Zweig
JACC News Desk

Saturday, December 11, 2010

JACC Awards 2010 Discussion On The Air


Woman Rebel: Maoist Female Guerrillas In Nepal - Small Screen, Big Picture

What do Hugo Chavez, Sylvester Stallone, Jack Abramoff, Charlie Chaplin, Norman Finkelstein, Dalton Trumbo, Evo Morales and Elia Kazan have in common? The James Agee Cinema Circle Awards 2010, of course. Tune in to Arts Express Radio on WBAI Radio in NY for a look at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly in movies this year, with Prairie Miller and special guest film commentary provided by Louis Proyect, alias The Unrepentant Marxist.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW HERE

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sally Hawkins Talks Female Ford Plant Struggles, In Made In Dagenham



Screening Women: Female Images Inscribed In History. A conversation with British actress Sally Hawkins, investigating the striking UK Ford Plant women machinists who made history in Made In Dagenham.



Saturday, October 30, 2010

Beyond The Sacrificial Good Woman: Black Feminism And Freethought












By Sikivu Hutchinson

In the 1997 film The Apostle Robert Duvall plays a white Southern Christian fundamentalist preacher and murderer on the lam seeking redemption. The film is literally cluttered with images of devout blacks, from black women swaying in the breeze at a big tent church revival to a particularly indelible church scene of dozens of black men chanting “Jesus” in rapturous response to Duvall’s pulpit-pounding call. I found The Apostle perversely fascinating because it trotted out this totally revisionist romanticized narrative of black obeisance to yet another charismatic but flawed white renegade savior figure in Louisiana (where, contrary to Hollywood flim-flammery, most of the congregations are racially segregated). These popular fantasies of black religiosity always seem to revolve around images of good, matronly black women eternally quivering with a strategic “Amen” or “can I get a witness;” subject to break out into a Blues Brothers back flip down the church aisle at any moment.

CONTINUE TO READ ARTICLE HERE

Sikivu Hutchinson is the editor of Blackfemlens, a journal of progressive commentary and literature, and the author of the upcoming Mortal Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics and Secular America from Infidel Books. She is member of the James Agee Critics Circle, a commentator on Pacifica's Some Of Us Are Brave on KPFK 90.7FM, and a reporter for the LA Women's Desk of the WBAI Radio Women's Collective in NY.
Listen to blackfemlens commentaries on Fridays, 6:25pm LA Time, at http://kpfk.org.

Inside Job: Director Charles Ferguson Interview

The unusual insider looking out perspective of corporate player turned filmmaker Charles Ferguson, about what exactly makes the Wall Street wheels go round and how it all spun out of control. And, during this at time contentious exchange, exactly how objective an insider may or may not be.

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW HERE



Prairie Miller

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

South Of The Border: Oliver Stone's Revolutionary Road Movie


VENEZUALAN PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ AND CRISTINA FERNANDEZ, PRESIDENT OF ARGENTINA: TIME FOR REVOLUTION

The movie opens with three dorks from Fox discussing Hugo Chavez’s “drug problem”, which is described as starting his mornings with cocoa. You can’t make this shit up.
The movie consists of footage from television and old newsreels, largely intended to demonstrate the willingness of the media to serve State Department ambitions, as well as interviews with key Latin American leaders. It dawned on me during Oliver Stone’s sit-down with Ecuador’s Rafael Correa that I have never seen him interviewed on American television, nor were Argentina’s Kirchners, Bolivia’s Evo Morales, or Cuba’s Raul Castro ever given a moment on “Sixty Minutes” or any other news show. By allowing them to speak for themselves, Stone breaks a news embargo that is almost as vicious as that Cuba faces on the economic front....

CONTNUE TO READ REVIEW HERE


Louis Proyect
The Unrepentant Marxist

Monday, June 21, 2010

South Of The Border: A Dissenting Opinion

When Things Go South

The Left Embraces Oliver Stone’s Newest Film

By Summer Gray and Noah Zweig
Dissidentvoices.org

Much of the U.S. left is atwitter about Oliver Stone’s latest film, South of the Border (2009): an eighty-minute-long travelogue/documentary about Latin America’s left-ward shift in the last decade. Those sympathetic to the counter-hegemonic tides of change in the region appear to have embraced what they characterize as Stone’s valiant journalism against liberal and right wing critics....

CONTINUE TO READ REVIEW HERE

Noah Zweig is a member of the James Agee Cinema Circle

Summer Gray and Noah Zweig are graduate students at UC Santa Barbara in Sociology and Film and Media Studies.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Generation Zero Doc Review: Tea Party Cinema A Weak Brew


...Invoking intimidating biblical scriptures that are fused visually with looming tornadoes, rotting fruit, paper money on fire, and a man versus lion beatdown, Generation Zero and its tea Party animals get down to business on fast forward by blaming the current economic crisis retroactively on Lucifer, Woodstock, Dems, post-hippie yuppies lighting up cigars with burning Ben Franklins, Hollywood, Black Panthers, anti-war protesters and disrespectful post-WWII youth. Which might leave the marginalized left in this country scratching their collective heads while caught between pondering these neo-McCarthyite attacks, and shock that they seem to wield such enormous power over the course of history...

Mob Rules: Tea Party's High Noon

By Sikivu Hutchinson

...Reveling in nightly PR infusions from the corporate lapdogs of American journalism, the freshly evangelized macho racist right has ensured that its charge of a socialist government expansion is now viewed as a “reasonable” critique of an overhaul that effectively concedes universal coverage to the insurance industry. Mining a deep strain of patriarchal backlash, the Tea Partiers have taken Christian fundamentalists’ language of “moral” panic and used it as a goad to a white nationalist uprising obsessed with the imagery of enslavement...


CONTINUE TO READ ARTICLE HERE

Sikivu Hutchinson is the editor of Blackfemlens, a journal of progressive commentary and literature, and the author of the forthcoming book Mortal Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics and Secular America. She is member of the James Agee Cinema Circle, the Women Film Critics Circle, a commentator on Pacifica's Some Of Us Are Brave on KPFK 90.7FM, and a reporter for the LA Women's Desk of the WBAI Radio Women's Collective in NY.
Listen to blackfemlens commentaries on Fridays, 6:25pm LA Time, at http://kpfk.org.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

***THE ANTI-OSCARS***: THE BEST POLITICAL FILMS 2009



THE TRUMBO: The Award for BEST PROGRESSIVE PICTURES 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.
AMERICAN VIOLET
AVATAR
CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
THE MESSENGER
UP IN THE AIR

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: UP IN THE AIR
BEN FOSTER: THE MESSENGER
WOODY HARRELSON: THE MESSENGER
ALGENIS PEREZ SOTO: SUGAR


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.
NICOLE BEHARIE: AMERICAN VIOLET
MELANIE LAURENT: INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
SAMANTHA MORTON: THE MESSENGER
RENE ZELLWEGER: MY ONE AND ONLY

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."
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
THE MESSENGER

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 BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX
EVERLASTING MOMENTS
LEMON TREE
SERAPHINE
THE WEDDING SONG

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."
AMERICAN CASINO
CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY
END OF POVERTY
GOOD HAIR
YOO-HOO MRS. GOLDBERG

LA PASSIONARA AWARD: For the most positive female images in a movie, and in light of the historically demeaning portrayal of women in movies.
AMERICAN VIOLET
AMREEKA
LEMON TREE
SUNSHINE CLEANING

OUR DAILY BREAD AWARD: For the most positive and inspiring working class images in movies this year.
AMREEKA
BIG FAN
EVERLASTING MOMENTS
SUGAR
SUNSHINE CLEANING
UP IN THE AIR

THE ROBESON AWARD: Named after courageous performing legend, Paul Robeson. The award is for the movies that best express the people of color in light of the historically demeaning portrayal in films.
AMERCIAN VIOLET
AMREEKA
AVATAR

THE TOMAS GUTIERREZ ALEA AWARD: Named after the late legendary Cuban filmmaker. For best depicting mass popular uprising or revolutionary transformation in movies.
AVATAR
THE BAADER MENIHOF COMPLEX
EVERLASTING MOMENTS
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS

THE SERGEI: The Award for Best Progressive LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT 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."
KEN LOACH for class conscious moviemaking and activism
EMMA THOMPSON for movement building against sex trafficking

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.
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
THE WHITE RIBBON

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."
BRUNO
CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY
DRAG ME TO HELL
THE GOLDEN BOYS
PONTYPOOL
UP IN THE AIR
WHATEVER WORKS

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.
GREY GARDENS
TATTOED UNDER FIRE

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.
BRUNO
WHATEVER WORKS

BEST MOVIE LINE:
I Love You Because...'I LOVE THE WAY YOU FIGHT FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN.' - A CHRISTMAS PROPOSAL

COURAGE IN FILM CRITICISM: ROGER FRIEDMAN SUES TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FOR CRITIC ABUSE.

ELIA KAZAN HALL OF SHAME 2009: 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.

THE HURT LOCKER: A kind of 'Dr. Strangelove: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb' - but for real, this thriller is basically about a military explosives expert in Baghdad who gets a huge rush out of his job, and he's not kidding. Which is to say that The Hurt Locker and its war is fun mantra - move over videogames and those second hand vicarious homicidal thrills - is just about as irresponsible as can be. Quick fix US military danger junkies go at it with Iraqis who range mostly from predators to ingrates, and not a single word about how or why we ended up there. The Hurt Locker: War is never having to say you're sorry.

PRECIOUS: Baby Mama Dearest minus the coat hangers and Hollywood mansion, this bad parenting ghetto horror movie boasts exceptional performances, but is social pornography at its worst, festering in racial self-loathing and class contempt, while oblivious to a system that ignores its neediest. And one of a number of subliminal anti-choice movies this year including Disgrace, that promote the incest and gang rape motherhood option versus abortion. The Bad Mommy Oscar goes to Mo'Nique.

PRECIOUS: If this film were a poor 'white trash' family/community, it wouldn't have received the applause that it did. The point is that it promotes prejudice against blacks, fat women, unmarried women, less educated women and a whole lot more. That it is successful screams out for another film from the same neighborhood where the family is kept above the fray of stereotyping, by a strong unmarried mother.

PRECIOUS, DISGRACE, JAZZ IN THE DIAMOND DISTRICT: Anti-Choice moviemaking, with absence of any option of abortion while promoting mandatory motherhood as the result of rape/incest/pedophilia, gang rape and date rape respectively.

ANTICHRIST: The cinematic equivalent of nails down a chalkboard. Pretentious pornography, satanic sex, and Willem Dafoe as an artsy New Age femocidal sexorcist.

DEADGIRL: Again the theme is vile sexual violence to women. In this case, the woman is dead and the men can do what they like with her And they do. This film brings out the worst of male fantasies towards women, and it wasn't a pretty sight.

SPINNING INTO BUTTER: Blaming the Black man for concocting a fantasy known as American racism.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Political Film: The Coca Cola Case

The Coca Cola Case

The Coca Cola Case

The truth that refreshes


By Billy Wharton

“Sailing round the world in a dirty gondola,” Bob Dylan sang in 1971, “Oh, to be back in the land of Coca-Cola!” After forty years of corporate globalization, Dylan would be hard pressed to find a place that isn’t the land of Coca-Cola. Multinationals have torn up the globe converting the repression of workers into cheap labor and free trade agreements into new market opportunities all in the name of ever-increasing profit margins. Left in their wake are legacies of environmental destruction, corrupt governments and employer violence. This process is precisely what a documentary currently making the rounds in campus political circles, by German Gutierrez and Carmen Garcia’s entitled “The Cola-Case,” aims to expose.

CONTINUE TO READ REVIEW HERE

More information about The Coca-Cola Case is HERE....

Political Film: Derivatives Come To The Movies

Ellen Brown is the author of Web of Debt: The Shocking Truth About Our Money System and How We Can Break Free. She can be reached through her website.


Will Hollywood Go the Way of Enron?
Derivatives Come to the Movies

By Ellen Brown

As if attacks from paparazzi and star-crazed fans weren’t enough, Hollywood stars may soon have a literal price put on their heads by investors in the Cantor Exchange, a real-money trading platform where people can bet on the gross profits of upcoming movies. Sales of The Dark Knight skyrocketed after Heath Ledger died unexpectedly, and so did sales after the deaths of Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. Will greed-driven investors now be laying in wait for the stars of movies they have bet on?

CONTINUE TO READ ARTICLE HERE

The Birth Of The Workers Film Movement

Shirtwaist Factory Workers prepare to strike.

Screening Room: The birth of television news and US documentary in radical underground filmmaking, and the misremembering of history. Filmmaker Tom Hurwitz on the legacy and impact of the Great Depression Workers Film And Photo League, the Red Channels purges, and a people's cinema movement born in vacant lots and union halls.
Also...Transplant take-out medical terrorism and recipients resistance uprising, in Repo Men.
And...Stephen Wolf, reads poetry commemorating the anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, March 25,1911

Monday, February 15, 2010

Avatar: Same Old Hollywood Product, Or Something New?


By Joe Giambrone

...The overwhelming success of Avatar with audiences has actually given me some hope (not the plastic Obama brand of “hope” as substitute for moral policies). It is impossible to not get it. It is impossible to not accept that moral questions remain when people decide to take from others and to demonize them in order to achieve their desired “facts on the ground.”

Avatar is a timeless story, mythic, allegorical, and yet grounded to our actual history and to our current events. Perhaps art can go beyond imitating life and progress up to nudging it just a little in a better direction....

CONTINUE READING ARTICLE HERE

Joe Giambrone is the editor of The Political Film Blog. He hopes to hit an iceberg and sink just a fraction of the depth James Cameron has plummeted. Send political/film articles to: polfilmblog at gmail.com.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Israeli Wall Protesters Take On Avatar

They equated their struggle to the intergalactic one portrayed in the film. Israel says the wall is needed for its security. Palestinians consider it a land grab.

  • AP & Reuters
  • Published: 00:00 February 14, 2010
  • Gulf News

  • Palestinians, Israelis and foreign activists dressed as characters from the movie Avatar campaign against the Israeli wall during a protest in the West Bank village of Bilin near Ramallah on Friday.
  • Image Credit: Reuters
Image 1 of 2
12

Occupied Jerusalem: Palestinian protesters have added a colourful twist to demonstrations against Israel's wall, painting themselves blue and posing as characters from the hit film Avatar.

The demonstrators also donned long hair and loinclothes on Friday for the weekly protest against the wall near the village of Bilin.

They equated their struggle to the intergalactic one portrayed in the film. Israel says the wall is needed for its security. Palestinians consider it a land grab.

Symbolic

The protests have become a symbol of opposition. They often end in clashes with Israeli security forces involving stones and tear gas.

The "Avatar" protest comes a day after the Israeli government began rerouting the wall to eat up less of the Palestinian village.

Palestinian officials say tracks have been laid down for a modified route near the village of Bilin. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the matter before official confirmation.

The Israeli Supreme Court ordered the government two and a half years ago to modify the route around Bilin.

Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank on Friday as he tried to stab them, an army spokeswoman said.

The man, identified by locals as 41-year-old Fayez Faraj, was wounded in the Hebron shooting and taken to an Israeli hospital, where he died.

Locals said Faraj, a father of 10, had worked in a shoe factory. Television footage showed a small yellow cutting blade lying next to his body.

A large Palestinian city where several hundred Jewish colonists live with an Israeli military garrison to protect them, Hebron has seen frequent violence.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Racial Politics And The Black Image In Hollywood


By Sikivu Hutchinson
Our Weekly, Los Angeles

....Critical darling Precious (directed by African American filmmaker Lee Daniels) and audience favorite The Blind Side have both garnered Oscar nods for portrayals that some Black critics and moviegoers have dubbed condescending and stereotypical. The irony is not lost on novelist Ishmael Reed, author of the forthcoming Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media. In a recent article in the New York Times Reed wrote, “The Blacks who are enraged by Precious have probably figured out that this film wasn’t meant for them. It was the enthusiastic response from white audiences and critics that culminated in the film being nominated for six Oscars by the Academy...an outfit whose 43 governors are all white and whose membership in terms of diversity is 40 years behind Mississippi”....

CONTINUE TO READ ARTICLE HERE

Sikivu Hutchinson is the editor of blackfemlens.org and the author of the forthcoming book Mortal Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics and Secular America. She writes for Our Weekly, is member of the Women Film Critics Circle, The James Agee Cinema Circle, a commentator on Pacifica's KPFK 90.7FM. and a reporter for the LA Women's Desk of the WBAI Radio Women's Collective in NY.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

JACC Anti-Oscars Discussed On The Air!

Brownie approved

And Janet Napolitano is still in the news. And she will not live her phrase down. She can speak of context, being misquoted, you name it. She said it. It is on her.

Today I listened to
WBAI's The Arts Magazine which focused on Marx At The Movies today. Click here for WBAI archives and it is under 2:00 p.m. for today's broadcasts. I wish WBAI would keep their programs up longer than 89 days (it is no longer even 90).

It was a very entertaining hour. The blacklist was discussed included Karen Morley who was blacklisted for refusing to answer McCarthyism questions. She went on to run for office on the American Labor Party's ticket in 1954.

Louis Proyect was the guest for the first half hour. C.I. includes Mr. Proyect in the Iraq snapshots from time to time. This was my first time hearing Mr. Proyect on the radio and I found him to be a very entertaining guest and wondered why I -- with all my hours and hours and hours of listening to Pacifica Radio had not heard him before?

They addressed the James Cameron film. Gilad Atzmon reviewed the film at
Dissident Voice ("A Humanist Call from Mt. Hollywood"). I did disagree with the call thatThe Hurt Locker has no point of view. I would suggest they both go back and watch again. But that is fine, we can disagree. And we agreed on "King Rat" at least. Elia Kazan. I cannot draw a line between the man and his art, sorry. I think he did a despicable thing (naming names, etc.) and really did not believe that there was any comeback from that.Click here for Mr. Proyect's view of 2009 in films.

A woman was the guest for the second half hour and they spoke more about the blacklist in that section and also had a lively discussion on how (badly) mothers were portrayed in 2009.
Ruth's Report
LISTEN TO THE SHOW HERE
An excellent show. I was driving into NYC, and could concentrate on it. Packed with good info, wished I had been able to write down all the movie titles you mentioned, you presented an excellent context for the reviews. Congrats.
B. Aziz

Friday, January 1, 2010

Peace On Earth 2010


A friend sent me this, I had never heard of this 1939 anti-war cartoon by MGM.
Bill Meyer, JACC

Peace On Earth (1939) Christmas Classic MGM Cartoon. World War II Academy Award Nominee for Best Short Subject (Cartoon), 1940. Originally Released on December 09, 1939.

CLICK TO WATCH CARTOON HERE

On Christmas Eve, two squirrel children ask their grandfather what men are. He describes them, then narrates the story of how humanity destroyed itself by war, as chilling scenes of armed conflict play on the screen. After the last human dies, the animals take their war implements and build homes from them, to live forever in peace.

Peace on Earth is a one-reel 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon short directed by Hugh Harman, about a post-apocalyptic world populated only by animals. The only cartoon ever nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize! It was broadcast in the US just after Germany had pre-emptively invaded Poland, a protest against Bush-Iraq-style pre-emptive wars, and before the US was attacked at Pearl Harbor and thus entered WWII.

At first glance this looks like just another typically Disney-esque cartoons featuring cute animals, but once you see those battle scenes you can see that it is so much more than that. This is an anti-war tale with well animated battle scenes that are scary as anything else that has been seen on the silver screen. Those scenes are very unsettling and tapped into the fears that many people held as Europe was at war with itself.

This film was nominated for the 1939 Academy Award for an animated short feature (it lost to Disneys "The Ugly Duckling") and was also, according to Hugh Harmon, nominated for the 1940 Nobel Peace Prize. Unfortunately the 1940 Nobel Prizes were cancelled because of World War II, so it did not win or lose that award.

Fifteen years before this release, Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising were employees of Walt Disney - in Kansas City. Disneys first animation studio was in that Midwestern city and it was, ultimately, a failure. Following the companys demise -- and with dreams of becoming a live-action director - Walt headed west. After shuffling around Los Angeles for a while, Disney realized that his best prospect for making a living was the cartoon business.

World War II was barely four months old when Peace landed on theater screens. Given the fact that a mood of patriotism and sacrifice was soon to grip the United States, the cartoons unapologetically anti-war stance is surprising. In the short, woodland creatures elebrate the Christmas season.

Two squirrel children stumble over the lyric peace on earth/good will to men because they have no idea what men are. Grampa squirrel explains that all of the men are gone; they succumbed to the fever of war and annihilated one another. Woodland creatures rebuild civilization and mourn their loss.