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

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

Bill Meyer
People's Weekly World

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

Ed Rampell
Los Angeles Journal

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
UC, Santa Barbara
Film and Media Studies

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

WBAI ARTS EXPRESS RADIO

**ARTS EXPRESS AIRING HERE NOW** 
 
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Hosted By Prairie Miller


ARTS EXPRESS RADIO: EXPRESSION IN THE ARTS


FUCK FOR FOREST: Accidentally Important Film  


  










Not exactly akin to the IMF turning up in countries bearing dubious donations that dupe and subsequently enrage economically enslaved, unsuspecting countries stretching across the Third World to the EU in Southern Europe, the Fuck For Forests Collective and its less hip than sleazy jungle sex tourism exploits do bear some negative similarities. Along with an anti-social when not pathological menu of brazen public sexual activities that in most places outside of their Berlin headquarters would elicit fewer handshakes than handcuffs. And which is the subject of the documentary, Fuck For Forest.

The FFF by way of bizarre explanation, comprises a band of neo-hippie youth performing live sex acts at times outdoors to the strumming of impromptu folk tunes on guitar, when not accosting strangers in public for porn photos or filmed sexual performances. Which they mount and sell as subscriptions on their website for the professed purpose of raising funds to save endangered natural habitats, as a self-declared NGO bearing the slogan, 'saving the planet is sexy.' And though exceedingly less harmful than say, typical NGOs sent forth by imperialist entities into the world
as pseudo-humanitarian front line invaders - just as the church in colonialist times once obliged - this primarily copulating charity is beyond questionable as to its methods and monetary programs, if those even exist.

Which led Polish filmmaker Michal Marczak to challenge the sleazy sexual exhibitionists to do more than just further satisfy their sexually confrontational urges in his documentary Fuck For Forest - though there's plenty of that tedious porn on hand as well. That is, by putting their money where their well, mouth has been, and tagging along with him to actual Amazon jungles to help out the equally endangered indigenous denizens of remote Peru.

And it is at this point, that the simply annoying, self-indulgent pornographic vanity project and pandering reality show masquerading as a film becomes not just politically revealing, but in an odd way, a perhaps unintentionally important film. As these fanatical freaks face off against, let's say, the real world. Where their anti-establishment, full time pursuit of pleasure back home within their permissive haven of white privilege, has no meaning among these jobless, starving and furious masses.

Leading ironically - and with perhaps more resistance than they ever encountered back in European society - to the resentful locals perceiving them as the usual Euro-centric sex tourists turning up to exploit them unhampered by any prevailing laws in their own country. Which well they might have, had they not been booted from the premises by the angry villagers. And, however economically and educationally deprived - and this historical consciousness is nowhere to be found in the film but should have been - who have a long, proud history and legacy rooted in Inca rebellion against European colonialism, and later emerging in Sendero Luminoso and Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement [MRTA] resistance.

All of which plays out in the documentary at this point, with astonishing revelation. As the clearly frustrated band of self-deluded paternalistic perverts with warped priorities are rendered simply pathetic. And cling to one another whimpering, as they are quite differently exposed for a change by their hosts. Who tell them, 'naked is not freedom, jobs are freedom. We need jobs. We live in extreme poverty. And this poverty will last all our lives. What are you going to do about that? We've heard enough lies, especially from Europeans. You're not believable. Please leave.'

Which likewise provides telling though again unspoken insight regarding the filmmaker himself, with his own historical origins in a once socialist Poland. But now similarly to FFF, hopelessly in search of a 'third' way to make sense and order out of a damaged world, beyond capitalism and communism. And leading to the unmistakable conclusion in no manner openly professed in this film but present all the same. That indeed, there is no petty bourgeois imaginary third way - call it freedom that is sexual or whatever - to salvage the beyond dire global reality at hand.

Fuck For Forest does have its postscripts of sorts for the hedonistic band - following their discovery that clothes do serve some purpose after all,  to at least ward off jungle mosquitoes - and after their traumatic rejection by the locals. In seeming psychological denial of their lack of acceptance, they move their act into the village streets and among the only ones still listening to them - the children enjoying their serenading musical entertainment.

Later still, they're reported to have scattered around the continent, one fighting personal depression by 'secluding himself high in the Andes.' Others reconvene back in Berlin months later, to 'work on a new master plan to save the planet' by spiffing up their porn peddling website. While another returns to his home in Norway, where he's seen urging homeless Palestinian refugees to come to a street protest he's organizing.

The Palestinians diplomatically humor him. What are you protesting, everyone is running away from something, we run from war. 'All of you could be naked with me there, we want people all over the world to be naked and make love.' And do you expect a big demonstration? 'No, I'm afraid I will be all alone.'

And to their question, what if you fail? There is of course no coherent reply, to how we're all fucked.

Prairie Miller
 


**CLASS DISMISSED**

BIG JOY: The Adventures Of James Broughton

The class distinction of fame or fortune entitling the privilege to perceive women as property to be discarded at will, once again.

This elaborately conceived portrait of the prolific post-WWII San Francisco poet and experimental filmmaker James Broughton, is at its best when offering immensely pleasurable and playful reminiscent readings of his verses. But the fawning, overwhelmingly male-centric documentary lacks any reasoned balance, with its too casually dismissive when not utterly into denial perspective regarding both the discarded women and offspring in Broughton's life - including the eminent film critic Pauline Kael, thoughtlessly reduced to a cameo irritant here - along with the conveniently disappeared AIDS plague that redefined in enormous ways in its own right, that far more complex era and the hedonism extolled in the film.


**Arrested Developments, A Bishop 'Converts' To Occupy Wall Street


At the turbulent juncture of religion, politics and culture, Bishop George Packard was famously seen going viral across cyberspace, as he led the way in scaling a Trinity Church NYC fence in full ceremonial robes, to liberate the vacant lot for a new OWS encampment. Bishop George discusses with Arts Express his subsequent arrest as political prisoner of the NYPD, along with scores of others that day. And what also went down with the police assault on New Year's Eve.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW HERE


 Plus, the retired Bishop's frustrating attempts to negotiate with his Trinity Church, to donate the space in question and concede to OWS demands; police brutality witnessed against his wife that day, her breasts kicked repeatedly and then thrown bodily like a weapon on top of protesters; Bishop George's difficult and troubled journey from Vietnam combat soldier to post traumatic stress and the priesthood, and from killer to healer; taking an Occupy hunger striker home for some dinner; and the real truth about the false police scissor assault arrest on New Year's Eve.


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


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**The First Occupy Film Festival. Occupy Movement filmmaker Travis Wilkerson phones in from LA to talk about the OWS Film Festival in NY this month, where his documentary An Injury To One, about the historic, valiant uprising of the Montana copper miners is screening. Also, what went down when 1300 cops raided their LA encampment, and current directions of Occupy LA.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW HERE

And, what this film about the horrific hidden history of the US labor movement has
to do with the Wobbly roots of OWS and the mic check; capitalist crime scenes and WWI copper weaponry; the Klan, Vietnam, Dashiell Hammett's Poisonville, TV's Dragnet, and the Michigan labor archives; the dreaded Pinkerton police, and the mysterious and brutal vigilante frontier justice numbers 3-7-77.

And, the still unsolved, or rather uninvestigated, state sanctioned assassination of legendary labor leader Frank Little nearly a century ago. 

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**Learning To Live Out Loud. A conversation with veteran screen actress, Piper Laurie. Phoning in from LA to delve into her memoir about struggling to find her own voice and her craft in the Hollywood studio system gauntlet, of sex symbol caricatures and casting couches; a predatory Ronald Reagan and Howard Hughes; McCarthyism and the Great Depression; and rising from the ashes of studio system sexist typecasting, after tossing an Audie Murphy script into the fire. Also, revisiting scenes with Paul Newman and the pool hall classic, The Hustler.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW HERE


**The Art Of Movie Conversation. Brothers McMullen director Edward Burns discusses his latest film Newlyweds, and the rich tapestry of Irish American urban culture teeming in his work; what he learned from Woody Allen; plus unconventional attitudes towards love, and even more unconventional methods of making movies without money.

**Reflections on the New Year In Music And Words.
The Occupy Wall Street Movement Arts Express Best Of The Net Hotspot this week on a quest for liberating spaces, and James Taylor.

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**Red Squad:
Here's Looking At You Kid. Street activist filmmakers do reverse surveillance on US government spies. A conversation with director Joel Sucher, and the lessons for the Occupy Wall Street Movement today.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW HERE

**Cook County: Actor Anson Mount does a scary backwoods crystal meth patriarch in the film, and talks inhabiting and conveying through his character, what's up with the troubling meth epidemic across the American heartland.




 Screening Room: Zero Bridge. The psychology of political occupation in Kashmir, how storytelling interacts with history, militarized movie theaters, and the past on rewind. A conversation with filmmaker Tariq Tapa; High profile lawyer Kendall Coffey talks legal controversy, Socrates on the hot seat, and his new book, Spinning The Law: Trying Cases In The Court Of Public Opinion.



Listen To The Show Here:

 
 
                                                                                                                                
 Screening Room: Johnny Mad Dog: Child soldiers, and finding the characters to play actors. Director/screenwriter Jean-Stephane Sauvaire phones in from Paris; When We Leave: Writer/director Feo Aladag talks domestic violence, honor killings and male identity; A look at Alex Cox's irreverent recession blues satire, Repo Chick, and butting heads with corporate Hollywood.  


Listen To The Show Here:

 


The Anti-Oscars 2010: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly In Movies: 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 for a look at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly in movies this year, with film commentary provided by JACC special guest, The Unrepentant Marxist.




Photo right: Yahima Torres, Black Venus




Listen To The Show Here:






 In The Arts Express Screening Room: Casino Jack. Actor Kevin Spacey on what he will and will not say about his rendezvous with felonious disgraced lobbyist Abramoff to get into character, and life after incarceration at a kosher pizza parlor; Nicole Kidman on channeling grief in Rabbit Hole; and Ruben Blades in a conversation mulling the music in language, and doing a damaged Viet vet in the movie Spoken Word.


Listen To The Show Here:




In the Arts Express Screening Room: A conversation with West Wing creator John Wells about his feature film delving into male identity and white collar jobless blues, The Company Men; Uk screenwriter Paul Laverty on Even The Rain, his drama touching on colonialism, neo-colonialism and water capitalism playing out in Bolivia. And current efforts by his longtime collaborator and esteemed filmmaker of the workingclass experience Ken Loach, to help raise bail and free Wikileaks political prisoner, Julian Assange; And, Texas Messes With Machete: How the Lone Star State played film critic and stiffed Robert Rodriguez, director of the provocative pro-immigrant satire.  








 Listen To The Show Here:




What's Wrong With The Media, And What's Right About Wikileaks? A conversation with former CNN and ABC reporter, Mark Feldstein. In The Arts Express Screening Room: A look at The Company Men and Casino Jack. And, The Pensive Voyager: Our Arts Express world traveler reports from around the corner and around the planet.

Listen To The Show Here:




In The Arts Express Screening Room: Scenes from hybrid tapestry biopic Howl, touching on the life, art and politics of the late iconic beat poet, Allen Ginsberg. And a conversation with Howl animator, graphic novelist, painter and illustrator, Eric Drooker. As he reflects on Ginsberg's creative and political historical moment in time that inspired his astonishing collaborative imagery, just how artistic censorship and self-censorship work, and why the Revolution will not be Facebooked.

Listen To The Show Here:


 


In the Arts Express Screening Room, Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton In Conversation about their new film, Morning Glory; A look at Love & Other Drugs; Eminent multimedia artist and filmmaker Barbara Hammer about her creative process and the experimental imagination; In the Writers Corner, Miguel Gardel reads from his work touching on state terror, rebellion and the turbulent Balaguer years in the Dominican Republic.

Listen To The Show Here:


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