Fight the Power

Cinefamily presents film about repression, deception, and rebellion.


8BALL TV featuring The Sixth Side of the Pentagon

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7/6/2017 - 10:30PM

“If the five sides of the pentagon appear impregnable, attack the sixth side.”
-Zen Proverb

On October 27, 1967, tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Washington, D.C. for the Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam. It was the largest protest gathering yet – a motley band of liberals, radicals, hippies, and Yippies. Among the thousands, Chris Marker led a team of filmmakers who both bore witness to this historic event, and captured a cultural moment through which images and criticism transformed (in the words of protesters) into direct action. With Marker’s patented sincerity of vision and wry commentary, Sixth Side less analyzes the politics of a time, than it purveys the mark history makes on the present.

Five decades later, on the occasion of Donald Trump’s Inauguration, 8BALL TV was launched. As a global public access station committed to the proliferation of political and experimental filmmaking, 8BALL echoes the demands of the protestors Marker documented: engagement, unification, and community. In this tradition, 8BALL TV provides a platform where the voices of emerging and established filmmakers from around the globe can be heard. Join us for the first public screening of work from 8BALL TV contributors, as well as Sixth Side, as we look to engage with our history, our communities, and the screen in new ways.

This program is curated by and co-presented with FACTS.

The Sixth Side of the Pentagon, dir. Chris Marker, 1967, digibeta, 26 min.

Watch the trailer!

Born in Flames (w/ Lizzie Borden and Adele Bertei in person!)

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5/12/2017 - 7:30PM

Presented by Women of Cinefamily

Preserved by Anthology Film Archives with restoration funding by The Hollywood Foreign Press Association and The Film Foundation.

Followed by a Q&A with Lizzie Borden and Adele Bertei, moderated by Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal

On the tail end of one revolution and the eve of the next, two feminist pirate radio stations (“Radio Ragazza” and “Phoenix Radio”) broadcast commentary on the failing socialist state from a future utopian/dystopian New York, where the dream of the left’s takeover has come and gone. Lizzie Borden’s stellar and ferociously beloved documentary-style sci-fi social drama, restored by Anthology Film Archives, envisions an imagined future that upon contemporary viewing looks almost—but not quite—like the past, eerily affecting even beyond its time-capsule appeal. Circling around issues of race, gender, and class that apparently never get old, Born In Flames is revolutionary beyond its political narrative. Shot on a shoestring over a period of five years, using non-actors and little in the way of an advance script, it feels like a feat, carried to completion by the sheer force of ideas and passion.

Dir. Lizzie Borden, 1983, 35mm, 80 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

The Spook Who Sat by the Door

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5/11/2017 - 10PM

“You really wanna mess with Whitey? I can show you how.”

Actor-turned-director Ivan Dixon’s Spook harnesses racial frustrations into a biting heist-thriller — couched in the newly-fashionable cinematic language of Blaxploitation. In a politically-motivated attempt at “integration” (what can be read as not-so-subtle “tokenism”), Spook’s subjugator Dan Freeman is one of several dozen African American recruits hauled in by the hyper-white brass at the CIA for instruction in espionage. Newly armed with training in explosives, ballistics, conversion tactics, and jiu-jitsu, Freeman transposes his knowledge to an eager community of Black Freedom Fighters on Chicago’s South Side — to the chagrin of his former employer.

It can be assumed that, in real life as in the film, the U.S. government does not appreciate being made for a fool, which is why the FBI evoked COINTELPRO strategy and systematically seized and destroyed every print they could find… except one. In an incredible stroke of foresight and artistic rebellion, Dixon archived the original negative under an alternate title, the only reason we’re able to experience Spook today.

Dir. Ivan Dixon, 1973, 35mm, 102 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

Animal Farm (off-site at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater)

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4/29/2017 - 7:30PM

This show will take place at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater, located at 1345 W. 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90026.

Presented by Animation Breakdown

The film will be preceded by a puppet show!

This adaptation of George Orwell’s classic Communist fable was Britain’s first ever wide-release animated film. Following the death of the Lenin-esque Old Major, a power struggle ensues between pig, horse, donkey, and man. Yet the story of the film’s making is as engrossing as the narrative itself. In 1974 Howard Hunt – the ex-intelligence hatchet man then-imprisoned for his role in Watergate – revealed that the CIA’s Office of Policy Co-Ordination had bankrolled Animal Farm, in a series of anti-Soviet counterintelligence operations engaged alongside Britain’s Information Research Department. So, in the midst of conducting psychedelic mind control experiments and overthrowing socialist Latin American governments, American intelligence was developing propaganda out of one of the world’s foremost anti-propagandist writers. Adding to the curiosity, Animal Farm remained largely underseen in the United States – though it was quite popular in West German elementary schools.

Dir. John Halas and Joy Batchelor, 1954, digital presentation, 69 min.

Though all are welcome, please note that this film features mature themes and may not be appropriate for young children.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

How to Survive a Plague (with ACT UP member Maria Maggenti in person!)

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4/29/2017 - 6PM

Co-presented by Courtney Stephens of Veggie Cloud

In the dark days of 1987, the country was six years into the AIDS epidemic, a crisis that was still being largely ignored by government officials and health organizations — until the emergence of the activist group ACT UP. Largely made up of HIV-positive participants who refused to die without a fight, they took on the challenges public officials had ignored, raising awareness of the disease through a series of dramatic protests. More remarkably, they became recognized experts in virology, biology, and pharmaceutical chemistry. Their efforts would see them seize the reins of federal policy from the FDA and NIH, force the AIDS conversation into the 1992 presidential election, and lead the way to the discovery of effective AIDS drugs that saved countless lives.

First-time director and award-winning journalist David France, who has been covering the AIDS crisis for 30 years, culls from a huge amount of archival footage — most of it shot by the protestors themselves. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary, How to Survive a Plague captures both the joy and terror of those days, and the epic day-by-day battles that finally made AIDS survival possible.

The film will be followed by a Q&A with longtime ACT UP member Maria Maggenti, who began attending meetings two weeks after the group’s inception when she was a student at NYU. Maggenti is also a filmmaker, whose films as writer/director are The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love, Puccini for Beginners and most recently, as screenwriter, Ry Russo Young’s Before I Fall.

This presentation of the film is part of bi-coastal effort to help fund Housing Works’ National Advocacy Trainings, which teach citizens to raise their voices at town hall meetings and with elected officials, to fight back against right-wing attacks on our health care. Please consider supporting their excellent work here.

Dir. David France, 2012, DCP, 110 min.

Watch the trailer!

Sympathy for the Devil

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4/28/2017 - 7:30PM

In 1968, Godard took a respite from his “narrative” filmmaking to document the Rolling Stones’ London recording sessions for one of the greatest rock songs of the era – replete with all of the frustrations and ecstasies of realizing a masterpiece. Godard found a nexus between his visual style and his subject matter: Sympathy captures the cavernous grandeur of British recording studios’ live rooms in the 60′s, with Olympic Studios’ multi-colored soundproof baffles, tape operators, and elegant microphone stands serving as a playground of frame-bisecting angles and shapes. This is late 60′s Godard, so we are of course treated to a dollop of Marxist polemics and virtuosic long-takes – the best of which features a group of Black Panthers tossing rifles amongst themselves in a junkyard whilst reading revolutionary texts by Amiri Baraka.

Dir. Jean-Luc Godard, 1968, DCP, 100 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

Norma Rae

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4/24/2017 - 7:30PM

“Miss Field gives a performance that is as firm and funny as the set of her glass jaw.” – Vincent Canby

In an Oscar-winning turn, Sally Field’s titular Norma Rae is a resilient, down-to-earth mother, daughter, and factory worker. Alongside her parents, and most of her small North Carolina town’s population, she reports to work at the town mill each day, bearing – with minimal complaint – the burden of its cotton wisp-laden air and deafening machinery sounds. Insert a charming, fast-talking Jewish union organizer from New York (Ron Leibman), and the town is in chaos – don’t forget, at this point, in the rural south “the idea of collective bargaining was considered roughly on par with membership in a Communist cell” (Canby). Martin Ritt (Hud, Paris Blues) took the true story of textile Crystal Lee Sutton’s life as the basis for his film, and despite all the implicit, folksy sentimentality, Field rocks it.

Dir. Martin Ritt, 1979, DCP, 114 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

The Battle of Algiers

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4/21/2017 - 7:30PM

New restoration!

One of the great masterpieces of cinema, The Battle of Algiers is also a world-historical document, an essential piece in the puzzle of a violent and hopeful time. No film before or since has conveyed the drama of insurrection with such intensity or precision. Depicting the bloody clash for independence waged against French colonial forces in the late 1950s, Algiers is defined by dualities – while borrowing from neorealism and documentary in its stark, hand-held cinematography, and on-location shooting, Pontecorvo’s masterful control of suspense and emotion owes just as much to the clockwork thrillers of Hitchcock and Lang. And while the film’s heart undoubtedly lies with the revolutionary spirit of the Algerian people, its unflinching representation of atrocities committed by both French colonialists and Algerian radicals has made it an invaluable primer on guerrilla warfare for everyone from Black Panthers to the Pentagon. 50 years on, its power remains entirely undiminished: the only cinematic experience that could be more impactful than seeing it on screen is seeing it again.

Dir. Gillo Pontecorvo, 1966, DCP, 121 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

Tickling Giants (Off-site at the Vista, w/ Larry Wilmore, Bassem Youssef, and Sara Taksler in person!)

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4/5/2017 - 7:30PM

This show will take place at the Vista, located at 4473 Sunset Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027.

With a set by DJ Chris Holmes

Followed by a Q&A moderated by Larry Wilmore (The Daily Show, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, Black-ish)!

“If your regime is not strong enough to handle a joke, then you don’t have a regime.”

The Daily Show producer Sara Taksler’s exuberant, prescient doc follows the rise and fall of Bassem Youssef – “Egypt’s Jon Stewart.” Leaving a successful career as a cardiac surgeon, Youssef brought satire to Egypt in the throes of the Arab Spring, with his show (Al-Bernameg aka “The Show”) which regularly drew 30 million views – to put that in perspective, we’re talking about 40% of the population of Egypt. The charismatic Youssef waged a fight for free speech that is – unfortunately – still extremely fraught.

Dir. Sara Taksler, 2016, DCP, 111 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

1984

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4/4/2017 - 7:30PM

In an age of alternative facts and challenges to civil liberties, together we must now do the daunting work of remembering a world that gave way to the infamous Big Brother, and what fate belied those who questioned Him. Please join The Cinefamily – and almost 90 other independent theaters across North America – on April 4th, 2017, as we screen this necessary and unflinching work in solidarity with those like Winston Smith (the late John Hurt), who love – and in loving, resist.

An eminent work like 1984, oft-memed darling of English classes everywhere, is brought to a bleak apotheosis in Michael Radford’s (yes, 1984) film adaptation. With its rote violence, its paralyzing portrayals of Orwell’s two-way telescreens – from which both public praise and hangings are administered ad insanium – and a palate that invokes only mud, we become privy and then prisoner to the normalization of a humanity traumatized by power. As Richard Burton – in his final performance, as INGSOC Party brainwasher O’Brien – taunts, “If you want a vision of the future… imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever.”

Dir. Michael Radford, 1984, digital presentation, 113 min.

Tickets: Free w/ RSVP (first-come, first-serve). Donation to the ACLU suggested.

NOTE: To help us track attendance, you must pre-register for “first-come, first-serve” admission. Your registration does not guarantee you a seat.

Also, as Cinefamily is a non-profit, all of our donating 1-year Black Card members get priority entry to our free shows. Donating for a Cinefamily membership is the perfect way to both support the theater, and to gain access to the early-entry line.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

WR: Mysteries of the Organism

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3/26/2017 - 7:30PM

A radical, sexual trip that was banned before you could say “life without fucking isn’t worth a thing,” Yugoslavia’s perpetually censored director Dusan Makavejev confronts postwar psychosexual politics with his satirical WR: Mysteries of the Organism. Though based on the writing of Freudian disciple Wilhelm Reich (The Mass Psychology of Fascism, The Sexual Revolution) and interspersed with Stalinist propaganda film The Vow, don’t prepare yourself for dense allocution, folks: lovemaking kaleidoscopes across the screen; our hyper-political Milena (Milena Dravic) incites a free-love chorale; there are penis molds, arty, sexy fever dreams, and tributes to masturbation; all unfolding slyly between deeply sarcastic mockumentary-style interviews with everyday townsfolk – each of them hilariously amazed by the healing powers of a new orgasm machine.

Join us for WR: Mysteries of the Organism as part of our Fight the Power series, and see for yourself that “Abstinence is unhealthy, unhuman, and counterrevolutionary!”

Dir. Dusan Makavejev, 1971, 35mm, 84 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

All the President's Men

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3/25/2017 - 6:30PM

“If you’ve got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.” Alan Pakula’s deep-dive into deep-dives launched a thousand careers in journalism and reinvented the political conspiracy film. Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford deliver career performances as Woodward and Bernstein, the muckraking Washington Post reporters whose investigations of Nixon and his intelligence agency cover-ups ushered in our era of political paranoia. Pakula paces the story like a thriller – with every clack of a typewriter, hesitating voice on the phone, and reverberation in a courtroom, generating an ominous momentum towards shadowy conclusions. All the President’s Men is a commentary on conspiracy itself, on the paranoid style in American thinking, and how that style brushes up against the skill, power, and training of elite bureaucracy. Alongside The Godfather, Taxi Driver, and others, President’s is one of the New Hollywood masterpieces, bringing together the movement’s greatest cinematographer (Gordon Willis), composer (David Shire), and two of its most iconic stars.

Dir. Alan J. Pakula, 1976, 35mm, 138 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975

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3/22/2017 - 7:30PM

With a set by DJ Mean Mr. Mustard

In the late 60s and early 70s, the world watched the Black Power movement take hold of America. Among the many magnetized by the drama were a group of Swedish journalists. Fast forward to 2007: documentary filmmaker Göran Olsson found a treasure trove of beautiful, important 16mm footage shot by the journalists, languishing in the basement of Swedish Television.

Featuring intimate footage of Stokely Carmichael, Angela Davis (including a now iconic interview with her in a California jail), Eldridge Cleaver and many more, the Black Power Mixtape documents an indeliable moment in our nation’s history – from the unique perspective of some non-Americans. Olsson and co-producer Danny Glover reimagined the footage with the help of music by Questlove and Om’Mas Keith, along with commentary from prominent activists and artists, including Erykah Badu, Harry Belafonte, Talib Kweli, and Melvin Van Peebles.

Dir. Göran Olsson, 2011, 35mm, 100 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

A Grin Without a Cat

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3/11/2017 - 5PM

“It isn’t the death of the corporeal body Marker is so much concerned with, but the death of hope—that chimera of a better, more just, Cheshire-smile of a world in the offering that was to be strangled by bureaucrats, zealots, cultural conformists, media overload, spiritual exhaustion, insensate venality, apathy.” –Howard Hampton, Film Comment

Chris Marker’s 1977 essay film traverses historical moments and movements with the grace and poetry for which the director is eternally known (plus a few signature cats). Focusing on the global political turmoil of the 60s and 70s, and the expansive hopes of revolutionaries and socialists, Marker elucidates both the vagueness and intensity of dreams for the future. As the French title (Le fond de l’air est rouge, or “the essence of the air is red”) reminds us, what is in the air is not what rules the world.

Dir. Chris Marker, 1977, 35mm, 180 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

A Face in the Crowd

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3/10/2017 - 7:30PM

Perhaps the most prescient of political films, A Face in the Crowd is a truly masterful exploration of political fame and the slippery slope that follows, resounding with just as much intensity now as upon its 1957 release.

Face follows the meteoric rise of folk singer Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes (Andy Griffith) as he moves from local drunkard to regional celebrity to national fame (with attendant political influence) due to his magnetic personality and “folk hero” persona. A film that “speaks volumes about the media’s complicit involvement with corrupt governments owned by faceless corporations. . . A Face in the Crowd is, in fact, as fresh and relevant as tomorrow’s headlines” (Thomas Beltzer). –NW Film Center

Dir. Elia Kazan, 1957, 35mm, 126 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

The Great Dictator

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3/3/2017 - 7:30PM

“Speak – it is our only hope.” – Commander Schultz, The Great Dictator

After holding out on making talkies longer than any other filmmaker, the first film in which Chaplin spoke turned out to be one of his greatest and most beloved successes, and one that still captivates audiences to this day, with its blend of heartfelt humanist intentions and the captivating physical comedy that Chaplin had so rigorously perfected. Inspired in part by a bizarre twist of fate that led both he and the rising fascist dictator of Germany to sport the same tiny moustache, The Great Dictator finds Charlie in the dual roles of wound-up, gibberish-spewing “Adenoid Hynkel” (leader of the fictional dictatorship Tomania) and The Tramp, a heroic Jewish barber who, after a Rip Van Winkle-like hospitalization, ruffles the government’s feathers. Featuring the famous “balloon ballet” sequence, along with countless other classic mirthful set pieces and an outstanding turn by beautiful co-star Paulette Goddard, The Great Dictator is “an impassioned plea for peace, tolerance, and humanity” (Allmovie.com).

Dir. Charles Chaplin, 1940, DCP, 124 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

The Event (w/ director Sergei Loznitsa in person!)

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3/1/2017 - 7:30PM

This program is co-presented by Los Angeles Filmforum with the support of the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts

In August 1991 a failed coup d’état attempt (known as Putsch) was orchestrated by a group of hard-core communists in Moscow, and followed by the collapse of the USSR soon after. As president Gorbachev was detained by the coup leaders, state-run TV and radio channels broadcast nothing but Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake,” while crowds gathered in the streets. Via found footage taken by eight cameramen in St. Petersburg (where a young Putin can be briefly seen), Loznitsa examines those crowds, as they sway between confusion, disbelief, anger, and empowerment. A quarter of a century after the political upheaval it depicts, The Event asks what really happened during the tumultuous August of 1991 – the collapse of an empire, or simply its the seeds of its creative reimagining?

Dir. Sergei Loznitsa, 2015, DCP, 74 min.

Watch the trailer!

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