All Power to the Imagination: 1968 and its Legacies



Decolonising the Mind

A series of momentous events in Africa in the 1950s and 1960s became pivotal in the radicalisation of youth. Rebellions and national independence struggles across the continent would become antecedents to the social uprisings in Europe and America in 1968. Three films offer breathtaking critiques into the process of the decolonisation of the mind and evoke a time when a new world was being reimagined.

Frantz Fanon: Black Skin White Mask
Dir: Isaac Julien | UK-France | 1996 | 70 min
A poetic and formally impressive film charting the life and work of Frantz Fanon. Born in Martinique, and educated in France, Fanon became an influential psychiatrist, philosopher and revolutionary, and a leading member of the Algerian Liberation Front (FLN). Frantz Fanon: Black Skin White Mask weaves narration, dramatic reconstruction, interviews and archive to paint a rich multi-layered portrait of one of the most remarkable political figures of the 20th century.
The Battle of Algiers
Dir: Gillo Pontecorvo, Prod: Saadi Yacef | Algeria-Italy | 1965 | 135 min | In Arabic & French with Eng subtitles
An episodic and gripping dramatisation of the first phase of the Algerian liberation struggle from 1954-1958. In utilising documentary techniques and a tight dramatic structure, The Battle of Algiers charts the rise of Ali La Pointe (Brahim Haggiag), a petty thief  who joins the underground resistance (FLN) that deploys urban guerrilla war methods against occupying forces. Colonial Mathieu (Jean Martin) leads the French unit assigned to quell the rebellion, unleashing a wave of controversial tactics – including the use of torture and assassination. With commanding performances by non-professional actors, and an affecting score by Ennio Morricone, The Battle of Algiers is a tour-de-force which is all too relevant in understanding the conflicts of the present day. Winner of the Golden Lion, Venice Film Festival 1966.

Harvest 3000 Years (Mirt Sost Shi Amit)
Dir: Haile Gerima | Ethiopa | 1975 | 150 min | In Amharic with English subtitles
Harvest 3000 Years follows a wandering musician Kebebe (Kasu Asfaw) who bears witness to an outmoded social system and dares to confront the local feudal chief. At turns satirical and elegiac, the film offers an epic image of peasant life through its depiction of harsh daily routines in rural Ethiopia and remains a stirring masterpiece of African cinema.

Curated by James Neil. With a Q&A with Film Programmer & Lecturer Karen Alexander

Times:  11.00am | 1.30pm | 4.00pm

Saturday 3 May 2008

Birkbeck Cinema

43 Gordon Square

London WC1H 0PD

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