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Charlie Chaplin’s Enduring Legacy

Few individuals did more to shape modern cinema than the actor, director, and producer Charlie Chaplin. One of the greatest of all comic mimes, he also pioneered cinematic techniques and storytelling. His films with his iconic role as the beleaguered Little Tramp with baggy trousers, mustache, cane, and bowler hat were not only comic masterpieces, but unflinching looks at poverty, unemployment, capitalism, exploitation, the callousness of authority, the search for meaning and dignity in a hostile world, and the yearning for love and acceptance. He argued that drama should be derived from the close observation of life. He refused to follow the conventions, including the penchant for exaggerated melodrama, perfecting his work with hundreds of takes, subtle acting, and nuanced facial expressions.

Wakanda Must Fall

This White, Western, pan-European fantasy film where all of its colonial subjects fight each other to see who will be safe from them is a political mess. The limitation of all existing curse words and my “appropriate” vocabulary inhibit my ability to convey my disdain for the politics of this movie, but what follows is my best effort. But just to be clear, I hate Wakanda Forever. In the first film we are introduced to Wakanda, a magical isolated nation in Africa protected by a meteor-infused plant power providing them untold technological and spiritual power none of which is used to positively impact world history as we know it. Radical internationalist politics are demonized in the antagonist Killmonger who is dispatched by “our hero” who proceeds by film’s end to further please his Western allies by promising to share those resources.

Is Hollywood Finally Breaking Free Of Toxic Gender Stereotypes?

“Palmer,” a new film starring Justin Timberlake and directed by filmmaker and actor Fisher Stevens, challenges harmful ideas about masculinity and serves as an example of how far Hollywood and much of the U.S. has come towards creating spaces for gender nonconformity. The movie, released globally by the streaming service Apple+ on January 29, is set in small town America and centers on the story of a child, played by Ryder Allen, who defies ideas about what boys should and should not look and act like. The film ultimately becomes about the child’s unlikely kinship with Palmer (Timberlake), who is struggling to rejoin his community after a prison sentence, and how society views those who are...

Director Stéphane Brizé Depicts Class Struggle With Dark Realism In ‘At War’

Few films portray working people realistically. One thinks of rare movies such as Hollywood’s Norma Rae, the independent Salt of the Earth, Sergei Eisenstein’s Strike or the Italian classic, The Organizer. These films portray struggle mixed with joy, no matter the success or failure of the plotline. So the screening of At War, set to debut in New York at Village East Cinema on July 19 and later in Los Angeles, is a welcome event. The French-language film is a raw-boned, deep dive into modern labor relations that has the feel of an on-the-spot documentary.

The Revolution Has No Hollywood Ending

After struggling against our own self-destructive tendencies throughout the entirety of recorded history, humanity is now at a point where that struggle is probably going to be resolved, one way or another, within the lifetime of most people reading this. The movie about this struggle has been written with one of two possible endings. In the first, we are unable to overcome our self-destructive tendencies, and the last of our species dies by radiation poisoning or choking on the dust of an uninhabitable planet. In the second, we evolve beyond our self-destructive tendencies and move into a healthy relationship with our minds, our ecosystem, and each other.

What War Films Never Show You

I treated wounded GIs from Vietnam. I saw carnage that seldom makes its way into harrowing war stories like “They Shall Not Grow Old.” Newspapers on the other side of the world are calling it “the biggest U.S. cinema event of all time.” Critical acclaim has poured in from all corners for the BBC production They Shall Not Grow Old, a technical and emotional masterpiece on the First World War — the war Woodrow Wilson said would “make the world safe for democracy.” The way the film brings old footage, and therefore the soldiers, to life is almost magical and powerfully moving. But because of how director Peter Jackson defined his film, a critical element is virtually invisible: the wounded.

The Spider’s Web: Britain’s Second Empire

The Spider’s Web: Britain’s Second Empire, is a documentary film that shows how Britain transformed from a colonial power into a global financial power. At the demise of empire, City of London financial interests created a web of offshore secrecy jurisdictions that captured wealth from across the globe and hid it in a web of offshore islands. Today, up to half of global offshore wealth may be hidden in British offshore jurisdictions, and Britain and its offshore jurisdictions are the largest global players in the world of international finance. But, as the world of offshore finance grew, so too did the inherent corruption that secrecy and unaccountability breed.

Does The Burns/Novick Vietnam Documentary Deserve An Emmy?

By the time I reached Episode Four in this ten-episode film, I concluded it should not be touted as an Emmy Award-winning documentary. In my eyes, documentation is rooted in facts and, if at all possible, immutable truths. ...We are watching instead a series of anecdotes, each one imbued with the earnestness of the teller. Episode Four, “Resolve,” is the story of 1966, a year that the producers of this film have designated as the time when doubt began to worm its way into American troops. This doubt sows the breeding ground for what we now call “moral injury.” The American soldier in Vietnam begins to realize that his job of killing others, or supporting those who are carrying out the killing, is not divinely ordained. He is not in a just war. In fact, he is being used by others who have much more pedestrian motives—rank, saving face, gaining political favor, selling weapons.

Veterans’ Group Says “No” To Emmy For PBS Vietnam War Series

“In this war-torn world, what is desperately needed – but what Burns and Novick fail to convey – is an honest rendering of that war to help the American people avoid yet more catastrophic wars.” A national veterans’ organization is weighing in on this year’s Emmy awards with a full-page ad in Variety, saying Ken Burns and Lynne Novick’s “Vietnam War” series does not deserve a “Best Documentary” award. Veterans For Peace (VFP), headquartered in St. Louis, with 175 chapters in the U.S. and six overseas, will run the Variety ad prior to the awards on September 17, to generate discussion about the series and the lasting impact it will have if “crowned with an Emmy.”

Lumbees Tell Their Side In Atlantic Coast Pipeline Documentary

Opponents of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline are deploying an increasingly common weapon in advocacy campaigns: a documentary film. Their 19-minute production, “Robeson Rises,” features Lumbee Indians and an African American who live near the route of the planned 600-mile natural gas pipeline that is set to run through eight North Carolina counties. At times resolute and tearful, the local residents are shown organizing against the interstate energy project that they say threatens their ancestral land and their cultural identity. The film’s organizers say their project is unusual even by the standards of the political documentary, which takes sides by design. They agreed to cede artistic indepenence to empower the subjects of the film to make editorial decisions to tell their own story in their own way.

Get Me Outa Wakanda!

I wasn’t going to record this commentary for Black Agenda Radio. Originally it was a Facebook post, but it generated such a response that it deserved a life outside of corporate social media. Because Black Agenda Report is equally critical of Republicans and Democrats, because as black leftists we consistently oppose capital, patriarchy, empire, the black political class and the bipartisan war machine we are the only black oriented media outfit alleged by the Washington Post and Prop Or Not to be under the evil influence of the Russians . Google and other corporate social media have targeted Black Agenda Report in order to restrict your access to our content. If I, Glen Ford or Margaret Kimberley or Ajamu Baraka or Black Agenda Report was temporarily or permanently banned from Facebook all our posts and their comments would disappear. Facebook claims all posts as its private property.

A Woman’s Rebellion

Naila and the Uprising, the latest documentary by Brazilian filmmaker Julia Bacha, who previously directed the 2009 documentary Budrus, centers on the life of Naila Ayesh and how she came to resist the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Naila was imprisoned and tortured for her resistance, and upon her release organized women to lead the uprising known as the first intifada that began in 1987. The film opens with a present-day scene of Naila looking through a photo album with her son Majd, who observes that asking someone to recall their past also means asking them “to relive it.” The viewer senses that this process will invoke painful memories, and indeed it does. Naila recalls that she was 8 years old in 1967, when the Israeli military invaded and took control of the West Bank...

World Premiere: In The Shadow Of The Revolution

By Staff of The Caracas Chronicles - Caracas Chronicles is proud to be the venue chosen by long-time friend and much-appreciated copy-editor Clifton Ross, and his colleague J.Arturo Albarrán, to premiere their latest film project, In the Shadow of the Revolution. The authors hope this timely work will challenge the Bolivarian government’s narrative about itself and the opposition through interviews with Left social movement activists, journalists, academics and intellectuals. Through this latest collaboration, Albarrán and Ross hope to reach an international public that has been subject to a bombardment of propaganda from the Bolivarian government. You’d be surprised how many people still buy into chavismo propaganda, and the narrative in which a popular, Left-wing government that brought great benefits to a nation is under attack by imperialists and a right-wing “fascist” opposition. The film disputes that line and offers a much-needed alternative view from the perspective of social movements and a democratic left. That this narrative comes in the voice of the very supporters that chavismo claimed to champion, now disillusioned and oppressed, is what really lends this film its powerful authenticity.

‘Whose Streets?’ Tracks Inspirational Call For Social Justice

By Jordan Riefe for Truth Dig - On Aug. 9 three years ago, unarmed teen Michael Brown was shot dead by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo. The killing took place under disputed circumstances, and Wilson was never charged for the shooting. In the days that followed, peaceful demonstrators were met by a military show of force that escalated into violence, mayhem and looting. “A riot is the language of the unheard” is Martin Luther King Jr.’s answer to those who ask why the disaffected don’t pursue justice through established channels. “Ain’t no Constitution in Ferguson,” says a protester in the gritty new documentary “Whose Streets?” as he ponders Barack Obama’s days as a constitutional law professor. “Tell that n—– he needs to teach a new class and bring his ass to Ferguson, Missouri, and tell us why there ain’t no Constitution.” While a wide majority of protests in the wake of Brown’s killing were peaceful, the media focused on looting and destruction of property. In the eyes of the public, the images shown on TV rationalized the militarization of police forces, newly fortified after the Department of Defense 2013 decision to provide surplus MRAPs (mine-resistant ambush protected military vehicles), bayonets, grenade launchers, assault rifles and other tactical weapons to local law enforcement.

Borneo (Kalimantan): A Frontline For Survival Of Our Planet

By Andre Vltchek for Counter Currents - But after visiting Borneo earlier this year (2017), something changed inside me. The island used to be one of the most beautiful places on earth, covered by impenetrable tropical forests, high mountains, and mighty rivers. Its many kingdoms and cultures were self-sufficient and thoroughly unique. Thousands of animal species were coexisting in harmony, sharing the living space with other creatures like birds, butterflies and rare plants, trees and flowers. It was a magic, gentle and pure world…And it was all not so long ago. Many things are even documented by stunning old photographs…Then, Western colonialism changed, basically ruined everything; as it had ruined everything almost everything, all over the world. Dutch and British invaders, showing no respect and no interest in local people and their habitat, began doing here what they have been doing everywhere for centuries: plundering, stealing, cutting down trees, extracting riches from under the earth, enslaving the locals. Later on, after semi-independence, the West corrupted local elites and introduced savage capitalism onto basicallythe entire island of Borneo.
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