BURNING FRAME: A MONTHLY ANARCHIST FILM SERIES

CALLING ALL LEFTISTS! The past few years have been a whirlwind: exhausting, invigorating,
and ripe with potential. It’s tremendously difficult, when in the thick of it, to pause, reflect, or
even find a moment to catch a breath. Especially when “it” refers to the rise of fascism on a
global scale, with any number of future cataclysms hovering just over the horizon. But we
digress.

Join us, then, for a series that asks: if not now, when? Come for great works of radical political
filmmaking, stay for the generative discussions, or even just to commiserate about how little has
fundamentally changed over the past 100 years (the span of time which the films in this series
will cover). The hope is that this forum for authentic representations of successes, defeats, and
the messy work of political action, will be thrilling, edifying, and maybe even inspire your next
organizing project.

To butcher the title of a great film for the sake of a moderately applicable pun: “Throw away your
dogma, rally in the cinema.”



I’ll Be Your Eyes, You’ll Be Mine
dir. Keja Kramer and Stephen Dwoskin
France, 2006
In French with English Subtitles, 47 mins

THURSDAY, JUNE 13 – 7:30 PM (double feature with It May Be That Beauty Has Strengthened Our Resolve)
TUESDAY, JUNE 25 – 7:30 PM (double feature with It May Be That Beauty Has Strengthened Our Resolve)

Stephen Dwoskin: I think [Robert Kramer] was getting worn out in his search a bit, finding a way through, in an abstract sort of way, not knowing any longer exactly how to handle the material without getting into a repetition. Not knowing how far to go! You need a lot of energy to do it, you need a lot of motivation, because making films is a bit like a drug – and if you OD on it, it’s pretty hard. You can get lost very easily in it, like being stoned, and then demobilised, don’t you agree? I don’t know where Robert was in his private life, you probably know better.

Keja Kramer [Robert’s daughter]: I don’t think there’s another life than the film when you are in it.

Dwoskin: Well, making a film is life!

Kramer: Exactly, so he wasn’t living at home; he was shooting every day.

Dwoskin: But it’s also about how one feels about a relationship to one’s self at that time. To keep the ball bouncing – sometimes it’s very easy to give up. Making films for many people … it’s really hard work. If you lose your motivation for a moment, the whole thing could fall apart; it’s very heavy, very intense, and that intensity can be very exhausting …

Kramer: I was laughing to myself about shooting I’ll Be Your Eyes, and the idea of all those situations of dragging the tripod on a bicycle because it was too heavy to carry, and all these cameras on my back, walking out to the middle of a field to change into that green suit and turning the camera on, having nobody behind the camera, wandering around … In those moments, when you’re working within such a lonely configuration, you have only your own motivation to go on, your own self …

Dwoskin: Yeah, it’s the same.

Kramer: … for acknowledgement. But, even working here, when it’s just the two of us, you feel like there’s no world – the whole world is just this world, these images that we’ve pulled in.

-conversation between the directors recorded 2/11/ 06, published online in Rouge #9

It May Be That Beauty Has Strengthened Our Resolve: Masao Adachi
dir. Nicole Brenez and Philippe Grandrieux
France, 2011
In French with English subtitles, 74 min

Avant-garde cinema is not primarily defined by its economic origins, nor by a doctrinaire platform, nor a singular aesthetic: it diverts a technology born of military and industrial needs, reinscribes it within a dynamic of emancipation and therefore participates in a vast critical movement that culminates in the 18th century with the philosophy of Kant and the Enlightenment. If the work of art’s primary territory is that of the conscience or the work of faculties, its challenge consists of continuously reconfiguring the symbolic, to question the division between art and life, such as the humiliating division between the ideal and reality. For an avant-garde artist, art only has sense in its refusal, in its contesting, its pulverization of the limits of the symbolic; it exists as an end within itself or as a means of directly intervening in the real…

The portrait here is not a link, not a report, not a clarification, nor an unveiling. It gathers and gives itself the means (visual, stylistic) of reconstituting the unsounded, volumetric, immeasurable properties of a presence, a fortiori when it concerns the presence of a creator with an exceptional historical journey. A two-dimensional image provides us with an approximate figure; it cannot open us up to the being whose contours it adjusts like a skimpy outfit and, more often than not, falls back on an archetype or a cliché. Far from the usual portraits, that of Masao Adachi by Philippe Grandrieux resembles nothing aside from James Joyce’s Ulysses, an inverted Ulysses: a psychic odyssey that guides us from an internal monologue, through confidence, by the objectification of external witnesses, by spatial and temporal contextualization, by epiphanies born of the appearances of faces, by the constructivist revelation of the means of its production, and in its conclusion, describes to us the utter complexity of a being without having consigned him to an identity—as we are wont to do to those we love because, seen through a loving light, they flood us with an inexhaustible infinity.

-from “Cultural Guerrillas,” Brenez and Grandreux’s manifesto on the substance of their collaboration, published 3/1/12 at Moving Image Source



For May Day, two films on occupation and “claiming space:” one a testament to the strength of female workers, the other a salvo against the legitimacy of state borders.

COMPAÑERAS
Grupo Alavio, 2004
Argentina, 38 min

MONDAY MAY 6 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, MAY 21 – 7:30 PM

Grupo Alavio is an anarchist film collective, their name an homage to the itinerant workers of the early 20th-century who would disseminate propaganda kept in their avios (knapsacks). Drawing inspiration from these fleet-footed labor activists of yesteryear, the group travels from town to town filming the struggles of laborers endeavoring to build collective strength and overcome socioeconomic injustice. These documentaries subvert many of the bourgeois tendencies common to the genre; they are self-funded and screened in the break rooms of municipal and factory workers in order to build solidarity and show the nuts-and-bolts process of workers unionizing and, in some notable cases, seizing the means of production. This particular film spotlights female Argentinian workers under diverse circumstances, united in their pursuit of personal and collective autonomy.

TECTONICS
Peter Bo Rappmund, 2012
US, 60 min

MONDAY MAY 6 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, MAY 21 – 7:30 PM

(Part of a double feature with COMPAÑERAS)

A border is both a place and an idea; it is a line on the ground that cuts through people, destroying the land onto which it is forced. But what does a border look like? What are its sounds? And how can these sights and sounds be presented in a manner that is decolonizing in its effects? Rappmund attempts this by closely observing the U.S. Mexico borderland itself, its monuments, cacti, air traffic, flags, walls and fences. These objects hide as much as they reveal, so Rappmund’s methods depict this territory as both familiar and strange, resulting in a landscape documentary that is also animation. Whatever the border is, however many borders there are to know and fight, some of its realities are contained within this film.


Exactly a month after the innocent pranks of April Fools come the fiery clowning of May Day. On April 1st, join us for a Surprise Screening that looks at the connection between these holidays, and find out what it means to have your soda and drink it, too (politically speaking). Both films are playing in succession at 7:30 and again at 10:00 PM.

MONDAY, APRIL 1 – 7:30 and 10 PM

In December 1970, the Polish government announced price raises on many basic goods, including dairy and coal. Strikes, demonstrations and workplace occupations spread across the Baltic coast. This film is not about that. It is about something that happened in the months before those events. It is about something that is still happening now.


MONDAY, APRIL 1 – 7:30 and 10 PM

This past January, one of the great radical filmmakers passed away. A filmmaker whose work has been referred to as “anarchic,” in its form and political antics, perhaps more than any other. Burning Frame has decided to celebrate this director how he would have wanted, which is to say in the most perverse way possible: by screening his anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist Outback comedy, the only film that dares address the deliciously diabolical role of carbonated beverages in planet-wide corporate hegemony. Journey with us back to a time when the Left didn’t want you to eat candy or have fun, when watching primetime resulted in false consciousness, when discrepancies in musical taste were a cause for division and ad hominem finger pointing. For Just One Night we take a break from our regularly scheduled doom and gloom for a program devoted to the questions that are really on our minds: Does the industrial nature of most 20th-century cinema make it inherently bourgeois? Is art class war by other means? Are you a Pepper™?




TO DIE IN MADRID
Dir. Frederic Rossif, 1963
85 min.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21 – 7:30 PM

ONLINE TICKETS
DUMBASS FACEBOOK EVENT

Frederic Rossif’s masterful To Die In Madrid was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 1963. Not that awards matter: plaudits or no, this is the greatest film about the Spanish Civil War ever made, and a seminal work in the documentary genre. Filled with indelible imagery from the war, and accompanied by narration that is by turns rousing and heartfelt, this is a vivid elegy to the brave efforts that were made against the fascist front. A film which demands to be seen by radical leftists, and anyone who believes that our revolution one day will come.



FURY OVER SPAIN
Dir. Louis Frank, 1937
52 min.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21 – 10 PM

ONLINE TICKETS
DUMBASS FACEBOOK EVENT

An explicit work of docu-propaganda that was screened in London with assistance from Emma Goldman, Fury Over Spain resonates today, both as an insightful vision of from the past and a powerful call to arms today. Produced as a collaborative effort by, and featuring copious footage of, the F.A.I. (Iberian Anarchist Federation) and C.N.T. (Anarchist National Confederation of Labor) as they mounted a defense of the besieged Madrid and launched offensives in Catalonia.

playing with:
THE WILL OF A PEOPLE
Louis Frank, 1938
45 min.

An impressively wide-ranging survey of the terrain of lived experience during the Spanish Civil War, The Will of a People presents the nuts-and-bolts of the war effort (everything from weapon-making to food-harvesting) woven throughout with commentary on Spain’s historical iconography.




REBELLIOUS CITY
Dir. Willy Lindwer, 80 min.
Netherlands, 2015

TUESDAY, JANUARY 22 – 7:30 PM

A recent, under-seen documentary, chronicling the Provo movement, a loose-knit collection of Dutch radicals and artists who captured the popular imagination and spurred change with boldly confrontational happenings.  Featuring the likes of Cor Jaring, Roel van Duijn, Saar Stolk, Luud Schimmelpennink, Hans Metz, Bernhard de Vries, Irene van de Weetering, and Robert Jasper Grootveld, as they talk about the creative, playful and inspiring Sixties and the rise and fall of the Provo Movement.



THE TROUBLEMAKERS
dir. Robert Manchover, 50 min.
USA, 1966

TUESDAY, JANUARY 22 – 10 PM

In the late 60s, the Newark Community Union Project was created as a bloc within the Students for a Democratic Society. Their aim was to engage with the inner-city black community in Newark. The result is an unflinchingly honest film about the difficulties of community organizing, particularly attempts to engage across divides of race and class. Despite the group’s work to overcome these hurdles, the government does not bend to the community’s small demands — demonstrating the utter futility that is engaging with government bureaucracy. Produced with involvement from the late Robert Kramer.

screening with:
COINTELPRO: THE FBI’S WAR ON BLACK AMERICA
dir. Denis Mueller and Deb Ellis, 53 min.
USA, 1989

A clear-eyed run through of how the U.S. Government conspired to violently quell the Black Power movement.




THE EDGE
Dir. Robert Kramer, 100 mins.
USA, 1968

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15 – 7:30 and 10 PM

Shot in 1967, at the height of the American antiwar protests, The Edge captures a particular strain of ideological tension felt by the radical organizers of the time, between the pragmatism of peaceful organization and movement building, and the appeal of individual acts of insurrectionary violence — a tension that necessarily threatens the cohesion of the organizing bodies which, in this film, ultimately fracture under the weight of the resulting discord. A piercing study of the dangers of disillusionment and isolation in radical spaces, the film also perceptively deals with the friction that often exists between radicality and the maintenance of personal relationships. A radical work of narrative filmmaking, both in content and form. The late, great leftist filmmaker Robert Kramer, a founding member of the legendary Newsreel outfit, shot this ambitious project on a microbudget, fashioning aesthetic limitations into a political tool. The imagery is stark and no-frills, the overdubbed dialogue disembodied and distant — at once an expression of interiority and a seething, repressed exteriority that painfully rises to the surface.

This film will be followed by a special Encore Program at 10:00.




REBELLION IN PATAGONIA
(aka LA PATAGONIA REBELDE)
Dir. Hector Olivera, 1974.
Argentina. 110 minutes.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29 – 7:30 AND 10 PM

ONLINE TIX
FB EVENT

REBELLION IN PATAGONIA represents a sterling work of Anarchist memorialization bravely brought to the screen by it’s director, Hector Olivera. Based on Oswaldo Bayer’s historical novel Patagonia Rebelde, about an anarcho-syndicalist labor union’s insurrectionary uprising against the Argentinian elite in the 1920s, which was banned and publicly burned in the 70’s along with the aforementioned feature film adaptation.

The film begins with an anarchist-led hotel workers’ strike so successful one forgets how the working class could ever lose sight of its inherent collective strength. But soon after the workers’ victory, cold reality swings back into sharp focus as the landowners conspire with the government to violently repress the strikers and rollback the gains made, a turn which the strikers had not foreseen. A cautionary tale for trusting state powers to uphold hard-won gains in worker’s rights.

For decades, Argentinian politics swung between the Nationalist populism of Juan Peron and a series of military coups, eventually centrally coordinated under Operation Condor, aimed at suppressing the socialist elements that made Peron so widely popular.

In 1976 the military seized power once again, ushering in a brutal 7 year dictatorship in which the film was banned, Bayer, Olivera, and several of the film’s actors were blacklisted, and Cepernic was imprisoned. In jail, he asked his warden if he deserved such cruel treatment simply for being a member of a Left-of-center party. “No, you’re not a prisoner because of your affiliation,” the warden reportedly said. “You’re a prisoner because you allowed Rebellion in Patagonia to be filmed.”

This film will be followed by a special Encore Program at 10:00.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.