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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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Film and Anarchist Pedagogy

Film and Anarchist Pedagogy

(p.154) 4. Film and Anarchist Pedagogy
Film and the Anarchist Imagination

Richard Porton

University of Illinois Press

This chapter focuses on anarchist pedagogy in cinema. Narrative cinema, which has traditionally conceived of the classroom as a cinematic microcosm that can encapsulate the conflicts and contradictions of childhood and adolescence, provides fertile territory for charting the ideological — and often aesthetic — vicissitudes of authoritarian, reformist, and anti-authoritarian education. The chapter then looks at how film can both reflect pedagogical currents, and even function as pedagogical practice itself. It considers “classroom films” such as Richard Brooks's Blackboard Jungle (1955), which is a paradigmatic example of a film in which a teacher is portrayed as a near-saintly redeemer. The chapter also examines classroom insurrections in Jean Vigo's Zero for Conduct (1933) and L'Atalante (1934), as well as Lindsay Anderson's If... (1968). Finally, it discusses the dilemma of the anarchist intellectual, and addresses how anarchist pedagogy extends far beyond the confines of the classroom or academic conference. Released on the cusp of the twenty-first-century, Peter Watkins's La Commune (Paris, 1871) (2000) is an exemplary case study in how radical cinema can coincide with anarchist pedagogy and an ethics and aesthetics of self-emancipation.

Keywords:   anarchist pedagogy, narrative cinema, anti-authoritarian pedagogy, authoritarian education, reformist education, anti-authoritarian education, classroom insurrections, anarchist intellectual, radical cinema, self-emancipation

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