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Film and the Anarchist ImaginationExpanded Second Edition$
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Richard Porton

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780252043338

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252043338.001.0001

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Cinema, Anarchism, and Revolution

Cinema, Anarchism, and Revolution

Heroes, Martyrs, and Utopian Moments

(p.60) 2. Cinema, Anarchism, and Revolution
Film and the Anarchist Imagination

Richard Porton

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines cinema's representation of anarchist heroes, martyrs, and fleeting revolutionary moments, formulating a critique of mainstream socialism that is far from the banalities of bourgeois sociology. Two films, Bo Widerberg's Joe Hill (1971) and Giuliano Montaldo's Sacco and Vanzetti (1971), deal with a transitional historical period before the final polarization of Bolshevism and anarchism. These films are reverential tributes to radical martyrs, and reflect the fact that these members of the Old Left pantheon have long been heralded as all-purpose leftists whose legacies provide useful object-lessons for socialists, liberals, and communists, as well as anarchists. The chapter then looks at the documentary and fiction films inspired by the Spanish Revolution of the 1930s. It also considers a prototypical sequence in Grigori Kozintsev and Leonid Trauberg's Soviet avant-garde epic New Babylon (1929), which sums up the grassroots anti-authoritarianism of the seventy-two-day Paris Commune of 1871, while prefiguring the Spanish libertarian communism of the 1930s and the anti-statist radicalism that erupted during the events of May 1968 in France.

Keywords:   cinema, anarchist heroes, anarchist martyrs, revolution, socialism, anarchism, Spanish Revolution, anti-authoritarianism, anti-statist radicalism

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