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JURA 40th Anniversary - 3 Day Anarchist Mini-Film Festival

Date and Time: 
Saturday, July 29, 2017 - 4:30pm to Monday, July 31, 2017 - 11:00pm

JURA 40th Anniversary

3 Day Anarchist Mini-Film Festival

(in association with the Inner West Film Forum)

As part of our celebrations of Jura’s 40th anniversary celebrations the Jura Collective presents:

Women, Anarchism, and Revolution

Saturday 29th July 2017 (screening at Jura Bookshop) 4.30 p.m. for a 5 p.m. start

Free entry

ALL OUR LIVES (De Toda la Vida)

1986

Directors: Lisa Berger and Carol Mazer

55 min

This 1986 documentary, directed by Lisa Berger and Carol Mazer, two young American filmmakers, using the traditional interview format, with contemporary photographs, tells the story of Mujeres Libres, the first independent women’s organisation in Spain.

All of the women in the film were members of the CNT (Confederacion Nacional de Trabejo), the anarcho-syndicalist trade union, the main representative of the working class movement in Spain in 1936. These women actively participated in the social revolution during the Spanish civil war, and appear as dynamic in their 80s as they were in their youth.

The Mujeres Libres, a distinctly anarchist women’s organization, was founded in May 1936, with the aim of engaging women in the revolutionary struggle. Spanish women at this time found themselves bound by the “triple enslavement of women to ignorance, to capital and to men”.

Women were effectively subordinated to men, and this even extended to the revolutionary movement itself. The work of the Mujeres Libres was not to solely focus on empowering women to participate in the social struggle but to also be a constant challenge to the male dominance of the movement.

The documentary presents the moving and passionate history of anarchist women, through poignant recollections and histories as told by the women themselves. In less than an hour the viewer learns the history of the social revolution, and women’s role it, the changes wrought by the war, and the struggles of these valiant women for an independent role in society. It does not neglect the important fact that these women fought for social change well before the war, opening with a woman describing how wearing pants was the cause of her being thrown out of her family home.

Both the ideal of anarchism, and its cultural institutions in Spain, clearly impacted the actual daily experience of the ideology. This is documentary film making at its best because we learn not only about the subjects, and their times, but also we understand the reasons why they are anarchists.

The film’s title is doubly appropriate; these women have been anarchists all their lives, both in the years they have lived, and in their daily practice. The experience is clearly a total one, anarchism inflects all their life and their experiences bear witness to this. As Suceso Portales puts it, they “weren’t fighting a war in the ordinary sense of one power against another: we were fighting to create a more just and humane society.”

This film will be presented by Associate ProfessorJudith Keene Judith’s research focuses on twentieth century history with a particular interest in the cultural history of war, including as it is represented in art and cinema, and its effect on the formation of individual and collective memory. Judith has published widely on the Spanish civil war and World War Two and is currently writing a history of memory and the Korean War. Judith is also part of several international research networks whose primary concern is with war memory and its ramifications in different national contexts.

 

Sunday 30th July 2017 (screening at Jura Bookshop)

4.30 p.m. for a 5 p.m. start

Free Entry

INTO THE FIRE 2002 Director - Julia Newman 58 minutes Spain, 1936: right-wing military officers led by General Francisco Franco attempt to overthrow the newly elected, democratic government. Both Hitler and Mussolini quickly lend support to the uprising. In response, nearly eighty American women join over 2,700 of their countrymen in "The Good Fight"-- volunteering, in defiance of the US government, to help fight the Fascists in what would become the Spanish Civil War.

The women were part of the International Bridgade's 40,000 volunteers, from fifty countries, who came to fight for democracy in Spain. In this enthralling, meticulously researched documentary by Julia Newman, sixteen of these brave and idealistic nurses, writers and journalists share stories of courage and commitment to a just cause. Most of the women were previously uninvolved in politics, and some of the nurses "had never done more than put a band-aid on a cut."

Nevertheless, they quickly demonstrated their courage and resolve, throwing themselves wholeheartedly into "La Causa." Back at home, their efforts were largely unacknowledged, and Into the Fire: American Women in the Spanish Civil War vividly reveals this forgotten history.

Weaving archival materials with words from the likes of Dorothy Parker and Eleanor Roosevelt, this moving film "leaves Hemingway's romantic notions of this war in the dust" (High Falls Film Festival). Reviews "Hemingway, Dos Passos, Orwell, and other famous men have related their experiences during the Spanish Civil War. Now we hear from some considerably less-known women, and their stories are vivid and moving!" - Seattle Weekly "Riveting....reveals a history our history books deliberately forget." - Monthly Review

 

Monday 31th July 2017 (screening at the Petersham Bowling Club, 77 Brighton St., Petersham) 7.30 p.m.

+++N.B. A condition of entry to this screening is membership of the Inner West Film Forum, see details below the description of the film.+++

BORN IN FLAMES

1983

Dirctor: Lizzie Borden

90 minutes

16 MM Film print screening

The documentary-style feminist science fiction film Born in Flames by Lizzie Borden remains as prescient today as it was when it first came out in 1983. The film is set in New York City in an unspecified future, 10 years after a "Social Democratic War of Liberation." But the socialist policies prove to be as inflexible and bigoted as those in capitalist times.

Anger builds up among women from all backgrounds as they continue to endure harassment and discrimination. They come together to form an army and plot a revolution within the revolution. Review: The Political Science Fiction of “Born in Flames” By Richard Brody February 19, 2016 It’s hard to make an independent film, but it used to be even harder, and the element of difficulty—the sense of a movie wrenched from recalcitrant circumstances and pressed into being with the urgency of rage and the force of ideas—lends a special bracing pleasure to Lizzie Borden’s 1983 film “Born in Flames,” which runs today through February 25th at Anthology Film Archives in a new 35-mm. restoration. Before “indie” was a brand, it was sometimes called guerrilla filmmaking, and in “Born in Flames” the feeling of a movie arising from its filmmaker’s fierce passion—it took Borden five years of stolen moments to get it done—converges with its very subject.

The film is a sort of political science fiction, set in an unspecified future that’s seemingly identical to the time of its making, in which—ten years after the “Social Democratic War of Liberation,” a peaceful socialist revolution—the fractures beneath the surface of the new policies come to the fore and New York women plot a revolution within the revolution. Those fractures are unaddressed inequities of gender, race, and class, and the women’s efforts to confront them are both cultural and martial. Even a bare description of the story reflects the passionate excitement and the imaginative energy that binds the movie’s politics and its artistry.

As women endure catcalls from men in the street and leering sarcasm from male news broadcasters, Borden evokes a truly cultural revolution embodied by competing feminist underground-radio stations: Phoenix Radio, hosted by Honey (played by the actress of that name), and Radio Ragazza, hosted by Isabel (Adele Bertei). Meanwhile, physical threats to women continue unabated, and Borden dramatizes the development of a Women’s Army that rides through the city on bicycles to protect women against rapists and rides the subway to protect women against harassers.

The leader of the Army is a black activist, Adelaide Norris (Jean Satterfield), who works with an elder theorist, Zella Wylie (played by the writer and activist Flo Kennedy). Zella’s vision of the movement is global, tactical, and (where necessary) violent, and under her guidance Adelaide gets involved with revolutionary women in the Spanish Sahara. Upon returning to New York, Adelaide dies in police custody; her death is officially labelled a suicide, but others in the movement believe that she was murdered and seek to expose the coverup. Meanwhile, television news, dominated by male broadcasters and producers, report skeptically on the Women’s Army and the effort for women’s rights.

A “workfare” program sparks conflict between men and women, between whites and blacks. But, in the press, three women journalists (one of them played by Kathryn Bigelow) at the Socialist Youth Review initially downplay the “separatist” assertions of women activists to the ostensibly universalist cause of socialism, until their own suspicion of a coverup of Adelaide’s murder leads them into conflict with their male editor and with their party. New York has a black mayor named Zubrinsky, the U.S. has a socialist President named Metzger, but, just as official socialist broadcasting proves indistinguishable from the corporate kind, so socialist party politics prove as inflexible and hidebound as those of capitalist times, and, under Zella’s guidance, women seek to take direct, and violent, action to break with both.

Borden constructs this large-scale social drama like a collage, with faux newscasts and talk shows, fictionalized documentary footage, police-surveillance tapes and the officials’ commentary on them, protests and confrontations, organizational meetings and strategy sessions, behind-the-scenes looks at the broadcasters Isabel and Honey on the air, musical performance, and intimate glances at private life in a time of conflict. She proves herself to be a far more imaginative and farsighted screenwriter than many celebrated Hollywood figures, because she sees the plot from a wide range of perspectives and circumstances, including one that she palpably views with hostility. Borden’s very sense of what constitutes a story, and how to realize it in images and sounds, is as radical as the social politics that she asserts.

The raw tone of her filming is nonetheless canny and precise; blunt closeups in contrasty light have a rough sculptural solidity, and the confrontational simplicity of the images evokes a rare blend of anger and analysis, affirmation and questioning. Leftism, Borden asserts, isn’t enough; a political revolution, to have any deep effect, must be a revolution in ideas and attitudes, a cultural and an intimate revolution that itself involves the media and the arts—and of which “Born in Flames” itself is an example. Though Borden’s own impulses aren’t far from the surface, she applies the lesson of Jean Renoir from “The Rules of the Game”: “The terrible thing about life is that everyone has their reasons.”

Like Renoir, Borden gives these reasons organic roots by means of character—not by the scripting of characters or by actors’ pointedly psychological performances but by the personal temperament and attributes that she reveals in the florid and loamy personalities of the actors themselves. The movie is a glowingly varied feast of performance, or, rather, of performers and their styles, filled with a vivid range of expressions and inflections, tones and temperatures, which threaten to burst through the movie’s visual rhetoric no less than through its narrative’s straightly defined but broadly based political constructions. The movie’s burst of exuberantly energized and politicized performance includes a title song—a melismatic rock anthem that’s a Top Forty-quality enduring earworm—and musical numbers such as Bertei’s catchy punkish jam with a studio band as well as her and Honey’s rap-like rhymed incantations into their underground-radio mikes.

The aesthetic tones of the movie are themselves rendered political while remaining free and uninhibited; it’s among Borden’s great achievements that she avoids the doctrinaire hardtack of narrow-bore advocacy and, for all her focussed outrage, makes a film of comprehensive vision and curiosity, a virtual documentary inquiry into her own progressive dreams. “Born in Flames” is a movie of its own moment.

With its blend of precise analysis and a hectic tone, it’s a time capsule of a raw and turbulent period in the city, and its political tensions seem born in the wake of financial collapse and a sense of disorder from which Borden derives her own overarching narrative, one far richer and deeper than that of mere advocacy of economic and political change. Just as the 2014 documentary “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry,” about the rise of American feminism in the late nineteen-sixties, depicts the dismissive subordination of women in the wider new-left movements of the times, so “Born in Flames” suggests the insufficiency of a radicalism that restricts itself to politics. Just as that documentary suggested new forms of creative vision arising from women’s new and just demands, so the free, ardent, spontaneous creativity of “Born in Flames” emerges as an indispensable mode of radical change—one that many contemporary filmmakers with political intentions have yet to assimilate.

http://bombmagazine.org/article/333/lizzie-borden

https://www.metrotimes.com/detroit/filmmaker-lizzie-borden-talks-about-h... http://lwlies.com/articles/born-in-flames-lizzie-borden-interview/

The Inner West Film Forum Membership available at the Door * Quarterly $15 ($12 concession) covers three successive months. * Half-Yearly $28 ($23 concession) covers six successive months. * Yearly $54 ($48 concession) covers twelve successive months * All inclusive of the date of purchase. Bar open from 7.00 p.m. The IWFF is a non-profit group dedicated to the screening of important and too infrequently seen films and documentaries and providing a community forum for discussion of issues of social, political and cultural concern.