Revolution, Cinema, Archive

Four titles showing at this year’s Forum and Forum Expanded raise questions about the representation of different forms of revolutionary violence in film, about their legacy in cinema and archives and about the role of film in the production of historical images.

The starting point of Albertina Carri’s film CUATREROS (RUSTLERS) is a book entitled “Formas prerevolucionarias de la violencia” by her father Roberto Carri, which is dedicated to Isidro Velázquez, a legendary bandit from northern Argentina. According to the book’s Trotskyist reading, Velázquez’s actions were inherently political. Velázquez was shot dead by police, while Roberto Carri disappeared during the military dictatorship. His daughter’s own attempt to put her finger on the Velázquez myth draws on a wealth of different archive images.

Filipa César’s SPELL REEL is the result of a complex research and digitisation project conducted together with directors Sana na N’Hada and Flora Gomes, both of whom used the camera to observe the struggle for independence in Guinea-Bissau (1963–74). Once the sound and image recordings of that era had been digitised, the three of them travelled with a mobile cinema to the places where the original films were shot. SPELL REEL watches an archive at work to create a discursive space for its own history.

At the start of the 1970s, protests at two Beirut factories could have kicked off a revolution had the civil war and its divisions not stifled this burgeoning social movement. In search of both past protests and strategies for the present, Mary Jirmanus Saba goes looking for clues in SHU‘OUR AKBAR MIN EL HOB (A FEELING GREATER THAN LOVE), seeking answers from the activists of the time, archive images, her own person and the possibilities offered by cinema.

OFF FRAME AKA REVOLUTION UNTIL VICTORY by Mohanad Yaqubi also tracks down the fragments of a failed revolution. Based on the films shot by a Palestinian cinema of resistance produced between 1968 and 1982, Yaqubi tells the story of a people in revolt that moves back and forth between fiction and propaganda, reality and dream.